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If you haven’t already read the AHA Solutions Patient Flow Challenges report, I encourage you to do so!
[Note: link takes you to AHA page where you can download an executive summary, replay a webinar and request a copy of the report.]
This report puts a spotlight on one of the biggest operational challenges in healthcare –patient flow – as cited by you, the professionals tasked with running the nation’s hospitals.
– You see patient flow as more than moving patients from point A to point B. You view patient flow as an important component of patient care that reflects heavily upon the quality of care and competitiveness of a hospital.
– You agree that patient flow is intractably linked to quality of care and also to hospital efficiency, financial performance and competitiveness.
– You are targeting specific areas for patient flow improvement including the discharge process, medication reconciliation, bed management and tracking systems for equipment, staff and patients. Many of you are focusing your patient flow improvement efforts on Discharge.
– When given the option of listing the one metric you most wanted to improve in the next year, reducing discharge time was cited most often, slightly more than metrics related to the ED.
– Several respondents cited investments in bed management systems to improve patient flow; additionally, electronic bed management is rated one of the top current initiatives.
It’s refreshing to learn we agree on one the biggest operational challenges facing hospitals leaders today – and TeleTracking’s sole focus is dedicated to being part of the solution. In fact, one of our key product initiatives is improving discharge times with automation through use of a Real-time Locating System (RTLS). The faster actual discharge time is known, the faster the bed can be cleaned and made available for waiting patients – and RTLS can provide that information in true real-time … as soon as a patient vacates the room.
Historically, bed availability has been driven by the ADT systems’ discharge messaging and nurse facilitated discharge notifications to inform Environmental Services (EVS) of a vacated bed. This method is latent; often not occurring until hours after the patient has truly vacated.
Many hospitals have put best practices in place that utilize patient transport staff and automated transport dispatch solutions to trigger the “dirty bed notification” as soon as the discharge transport job begins, and well before ADT discharge messaging occurs. Still, even the best run hospital operations experience an estimated 25% of discharges without the assistance of a transporter.
Today, with Real-Time Locating System (RTLS) capabilities integrated with patient flow solutions, you can capture all vacated bed actions – in real time. This integration speeds dirty bed notification and improves bed turn times.
And what’s the value of that? In addition to improvements in access and speed of care delivery, one can’t ignore the significant financial metrics affected. Imagine the net margin impact at your facility if you could improve these key areas of financial impact to your bottom line: ED diversion; ED Left Without Being Seen / Left Without Treatment (LWBS, LWOT); OR Hold / Boarders; Length of Stay (LOS)
So, the question remains…how does your enterprise know when a bed is truly vacated, available for cleaning and ready for the next patient? And how do the associated delays and “dead bed time” affect your bottom line?