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Internal and External Patient Transportation - Small Gains Can Improve Access to Care

It's an obvious fact that is so palpable that it is frequently over-looked―there’s no way to impact patient flow without efficient and effective patient transportation.  This holds true both inside and outside the walls of a healthcare facility―resources can be aligned, clean beds can be available, and staff can be ready; but without a solid transportation model, patients will still wait. 


Transport Tracking


For decades, TeleTracking has provided solutions to this problem inside the hospital.  Using intelligent dispatching logic and situational awareness, patients can be moved throughout a facilityfrom the ED to their bed, from their bed to procedure area and back again, and eventually to discharge area.  Repeatable processes and productivity analysis allow internal patient transportation teams to keep patients moving through the facility to receive the care they need. 

As we look at the entirety of the care continuum, the next challenge to tackle is transportation between care settings.  Perhaps a patient needs to move to a skilled nursing facility from an acute care hospital, or maybe they need to move from a rehabilitation facility to an imaging center.  For most, this process is highly manual.  Phone calls are made, notes are hand-written, and bottlenecks inevitably occur.  Adding to the complexity is the high degree of variability when dealing with medical transportation providers who are also often first responders to the community. 


How could some of the core competencies from our internal transportation models improve external patient transportation? 


Automation

Helping external transportation dispatchers focus more on logistics and communication and less on the mechanics of order-taking.  Electronic submission of an external transportation request eliminates double entry and reduces the potential for error.  Incorrect verbal communication, such as a wrong destination or level of care need could have negative impacts such as improperly equipped vehicles, delays in transportation and most critically delays in life-saving care. 

Situational Awareness

Having an understanding of patient pick up and arrival times helps both senders and receivers be prepared.  Periodic updates on dispatch progress are now done through low-value and time-consuming phone calls. "When will the ambulance arrive?  When can we expect the patient to arrive to the skilled nursing facility?"  These timing questions provide the opportunity to plan and prepare for an efficient transition of carebut they are often unknown unless actively sought out by the patient care teams sending and receiving patients.  For internal transportation, notifications can be sent to the sending areas when transporters have been dispatched or to receiving departments when patients are enroute.  The same communication model could be applied with external transportation activities to ensure similar situational awareness. 

TeleTracking is innovating with collaborating organizations in the medical transportation space as well with clients that are continually transforming and improving patient flow.   

We are committed to continually finding revolutionizing ways that ensure patients get to the care they need.  Process refinements and improved communication measured in seconds or minutes removed from each trip can contribute to eliminating hours and days of delayed care for other patients.

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About the Expert

Tom PerryThomas Perry | Solution Line Leader, Product Management

Thomas Perry has held various roles while at TeleTracking since joining in 2001. Tom has held responsibility for managing and launching TransportTracking™, BedTracking®, ServiceTracking™, TeleTracking’s RTLS Solutions; including AssetTracking, TempTracking and incorporation of RTLS capabilities into existing and new TeleTracking solutions. He currently is the Solution Line Leader in Product Management for the Capacity Management Suite and leads a number of innovation initiatives targeted with expanding capabilities to improve patient access and throughput.
 
With a Master’s degree in Corporate Communications, Tom's career has been focused on improving communications; process re-engineering and workflow design in various industries including advertising, logistics, manufacturing and healthcare.

More information about this resource

Categories
Patient Access, Patient Throughput, Patient Flow Experts
Media Type
Blog
Roles
Executive, Administration, Operations

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