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Hospital Census an Illusion? Avoid Capacity Challenges with Real-Time Capacity Management

Several recent studies have confirmed what hospital administrators already know: almost three fourths of American hospitals experience capacity challenges (excessive wait times, diversions, ED patients leaving without treatment, transfer declines) – even when they aren’t actually full.

A likely reason is that many hospital operational processes don’t keep track of existing space and resources. In other words, the hospital census is an illusion! Due to manual processes, lack of enterprise visibility, no predictive census of pending admits and upcoming discharges and the significant lag time of Admission, Discharge and Transfer (ADT) systems, it’s nearly impossible to get a true picture of actual available resources.

Another reason may be capacity planning challenges. While it’s true that patient care demands cannot be predicted with 100% certainty, a 2011 Journal of Hospital Medicine study showed hospital occupancy levels tend to peak on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Many hospitals operate at “fuller” capacity on those days, because elective surgeries are highest and discharges typically lower. With the right enterprise visibility systems partnered with historical reporting trends for your hospital’s capacity, much of the chaos and congestion can be minimized.  With the right information, hospital leaders can, for example, have the historical reporting trends to use Monday and Friday for elective surgeries and schedule procedures that require less recovery time mid-week.  This, along with better throughput efficiency, can significantly reduce peri-operative inefficiencies and enable hospitals to treat more patients with proper planning and right sizing of existing resources.

Hospital expansion used to be the answer for constant bed alerts. But coming changes in reimbursement may force administrators and trustees to find other ways to cope.

TeleTracking’s Real Time Capacity Management™ (RTCM) solutions are an affordable way to do exactly that.  Capacity management is the discipline of maximizing existing resources to overcome capacity constraints and produce revenue opportunities. Real-Time Capacity Management is TeleTracking’s enterprise solution for automating most operational functions that govern patient care delivery, providing real-time feedback on how they are being performed, and continuously improving that performance.

RTCM does this by integrating TeleTracking’s market-leading patient flow software with real time location system technology (RTLS) and one of the most advanced business analytics engines available today.

This means you can know the status of virtually everyone and everything in your facility – right now.

RTCM connects every patient movement with patient care.

  • It squeezes every wasted minute out of the 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.”
  • It creates an operational backbone which helps hospitals achieve the financial health they need to continue delivering quality care and maximum access to that care.

Clients who have adopted RTCM report dramatic reductions in congestion, the elimination of diversions, greater access to care for those who need it, and dramatic increases in revenue, among other things.

In just a few months, millions of Americans will be getting health insurance for the first time under provisions of the Affordable Care Act. They will add to the growing number of citizens seeking care, led by the aging Baby Boom generation.

Most experts estimate individual hospitals are missing out on between $2 million and $20 million in cost opportunity, and a significant percentage of this can be achieved through efficient capacity management.   Nearly 900 TeleTracking clients are proof that automating your hospital’s throughput operations means better flow, better care and a better bottom line.

 

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