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This article was first published on Journal of mHealth | Read Full Article
The Mid and South Essex University Hospitals Group (MSE), in the UK, has established a new patient flow control centre to provide real-time visibility of bed status and balance anticipated demand with availability in order to maximise capacity and achieve operational excellence.
The 1150 sq ft control centre, which is operational 24/7, 365 days of the year, is located in Billericay and offers the hospitals group a centralised, holistic approach to bed management. Underpinned by TeleTracking’s operational bed management platform, a dedicated team of 52 nursing professionals will have real-time visibility of open beds across its three sites, increasing access and allowing patient flow to be managed more effectively.
Clare Panniker, chief executive of the three Trusts, explains: “As part of the planned merger of our three Trusts, we recognised that there was a significant opportunity to review existing workflows and – where appropriate – to effectively wipe the slate clean and start again. Traditional bed management processes are debilitating; nurses simply spend too much of their time chasing beds. Establishing the control centre is a chance for us to examine, understand and change the root causes of the problem, reduce bed wastage and improve patient access.”
In addition to providing real-time visibility of its beds, the TeleTracking platform also allows staff across the Trusts to analyse operations, use predictive models to anticipate downstream demand, coordinate patient placement, sensor-track resources and patients, and adjust resources to changing circumstances in real-time.
“The control centre represents an integrated, sophisticated approach to operational excellence and capacity management―moving away from traditional siloed point solutions, such as bed management, case management, portering, transitions of care and referral management, and staff assignment,” says Neil Griffiths, Managing Director, TeleTracking Limited.
The control centre supports a management structure that includes a Managing Director for each Trust, supported by a director team, responsible for handling out-of-hours bed pressures and decision-making regarding escalation beds, for example. TeleTracking’s mobile App makes it possible for decision-makers to view bed status in real-time from their phones and make data-informed decisions, helping ensure that patients get to the right beds sooner and genuinely contributing to reducing patient wait times at a time when the hospitals are running on minimal staff numbers.
Clare concludes, “Using technology to automate key processes is an important part of our approach to dramatically improving the co-ordination of admissions and discharges from our hospitals. Combined with improved workflows and staff training, this comprehensive approach will make it possible to make the best use of our 1,800 beds―speeding up bed turnaround time due to a real-time view of our bed status and automating requests for porters and bed cleaners. This approach will help create much needed bed capacity and underpins our commitment to the highest quality patient care.”