Time is one of the biggest forms of waste in healthcare, but it’s often ignored as a factor in the cost crisis.
Here are four simple ways to tell if your hospital is driving up costs and leaving revenue on the table by wasting time.
This is the red flag that you have a problem. Because the fact is the emergency isn’t in the emergency room. Overcrowded ERs mean your entire patient flow process is bogged down in the rest of the hospital. From not moving patients on time, to taking too long to make up a vacant room, to problems with discharge.
Imagine if every car at a stop light pulled out at precisely the same time. A lot more cars would get through the stop light and you would probably get to work sooner. Now think about how drivers actually react when the light turns green. Wasting time has a similar domino effect that impacts all of your hospital functions.
If your hallways are full of patients in need of a permanent room, that’s another bad sign. Sometimes people wait there for 24 hours or more. Not only can hallway boarding, as it’s called, be a breeding ground for infection, the patients aren’t getting the specialized care they would get in the proper department, which can affect their outcome down the road.
If you have to divert patients to other hospitals, you’re hurting them and your own hospital.
First of all, it’s a signal that you aren’t using your existing capacity to the maximum. Most hospitals run well below the 90 percent occupancy that is recognized as best practice and they don’t even know it, because they don’t have adequate ways to measure capacity.
Secondly, the patients are coming to you for a reason. You’re the closest hospital and time is critical. Or you have the special expertise that they need. Sending them elsewhere loses precious time, or worse, denies them the special care they need.
Finally, patients transferred from other hospitals mean additional revenue that impacts your margin, and protecting your margin is going to be critical under the new reform guidelines.
Operating rooms are the financial engines of hospitals. But if you don’t have a place to put your patients after surgery, the whole process slows down, and you lose a lot of revenue as a result. Over time this can mean millions of dollars—and that’s revenue that many hospitals need to stay afloat and provide service to their communities.
Automated capacity management accelerates the patient flow process at every point in the flow continuum. It has the effect of converting all of those cars at the stop sign mentioned above into a long train that moves as a single unit.
TeleTracking’s Real-Time Capacity Management™ platform integrates advanced patient flow, business intelligence, and real-time locating system (RTLS) technologies to give hospital executives unmatched ability to manage operations of their enterprise in real time. RTCM is an operational platform which optimizes efficiency in those areas most impacted by patient demand — patient rooms and beds, workforce management, operating rooms, transfer centers and mobile medical devices.
It brings real dollars to the bottom line by squeezing every wasted minute out of the patient throughput process. It maximizes existing bed capacity so you won’t have to turn patients away. It eases congestion in the rest of the hospital to cut ED wait times and bridges the communication gaps between “silos.” Pulling time out of the flow continuum means more surgeries can be performed and more patients can be transferred from other hospitals.
It’s the type of IT that can help hospitals achieve the financial health they need to deliver quality care, maximum access to that care and keep going in the next wave of healthcare reform.
Is your hospital wasting time? Isn’t it time to stop?