This article was first published on Healthcare Executive | Read Full Article
As care delivery becomes more complex, health systems across the country are finding ways to effectively and efficiently coordinate patient care across the continuum. One of the main challenges they are seeking to address is reducing patient wait times.
Kettering Health Network in Dayton, Ohio, which serves a population of 800,000, is one such organization that was struggling with the movement of patients through its system. Within the not-for-profit network that includes nine hospitals, Kettering College and more than 120 outpatient facilities, it took an average of 16 phone calls by physicians, nurses and bed controllers throughout the health system to move one patient. For example, the ED would call patient placement to see if there was a clean, ready bed; then call the floor to confirm; then call environmental services to expedite the bed cleaning if the room was empty but not yet cleaned; then call to arrange transportation; and then call the floor again to let the nurse know the patient was arriving.
Clearly, this was not sustainable. The health system’s clinical and senior leadership teams knew they had to find a solution to break down departmental silos—such as patient access and placement, environmental services, case management and patient transport—unify around a timely, cohesive patient experience and create the operational foresight to drive long-term improvements.
Several factors contributed to Kettering Health Network’s operational challenges related to patient wait times. These challenges, which provided a catalyst for change, included: