If banking were like health care, an ATM withdrawal would take days, not seconds.

That was one of the most damning statements contained in last week’s Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on the state of U.S. Healthcare. Another was the $750 billion wasted annually in the process of providing care for Americans, which is about the same amount budgeted for the entire eight years of war in Iraq. The top culprit was unnecessary services at $210 billion annually. The second highest cost cited in the IOM report was $130 billion for “inefficient delivery of medical care.”


The IOM says the solution to wasting 30 cents of every healthcare dollar spent is to change the culture of healthcare so that it becomes one of continuous learning. It recommends, among other things, the adoption of more proven efficiency measures from commercial enterprise. Streamlining response time, transparency, communication and technology would save enough money to insure about 150 million Americans, according to the report.

“Achieving higher quality care at lower cost will require an across-the-board commitment to transform the U.S. health system into a “learning” system that continuously improves by systematically capturing and broadly disseminating lessons from every care experience and new research discovery.”  

The IOM went on to say that hospitals and health systems vitally need “methods for coordinating complex work across diverse organizations, identifying existing and potential problems and addressing those problems systematically.”

Accomplishing this will require “embracing new technologies,” the report says, “and establishing greater teamwork and transparency within health care organizations.”

That is exactly what TeleTracking has been doing for clients like Methodist Health Care of San Antonio, which created over $50 million in new revenue by centralizing patient placement and patient transfer operations and automating throughput.

Or Advocate Lutheran General, where we raised patient satisfaction in the emergency department from 50 percent to 99 percent over two years.

Or Baylor Health System, which saw bed assignment from ED admits drop from 120 minutes to just 20 minutes in the first week after implementation of our software.

By creating an automated environment with real-time communications and feedback, we convert under-utilized time and resources – among the biggest sources of waste in healthcare – into a significant source of savings and revenue. Furthermore, the instant feedback loop provides an opportunity to continuously learn how to improve processes with real data, something Six Sigma and like programs aren’t geared to do on a regular basis.

Our new platform, called Real-Time Capacity Management, brings the real time enterprise of industry to healthcare. Gartner Research has said health systems will need to evolve to RTEs to remain competitive. This will require “expanded use of automation, instrumentation, location and condition-sensing technologies, event-driven approaches, messaging, interoperability and wireless mobility.”

The payoff will be “enterprises that are progressively more efficient in their core processes and more able to compete,” Gartner predicts.

We couldn’t agree more.

Michael Gallup

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