Enterprise systems. Operational command centers. Patient portals. Data and analytics. These are common terms in the world of healthcare technology, and terms I frequently use when I’m focused on operational efficiency as a physician executive at Palmetto Health. However, my other role at Palmetto Health is as an emergency room physician—and that’s where I see the positive or negative impact operational efficiency, or inefficiency has on the human side of health care.
The patients that come through our doors are sick, nervous and scared— and looking at us to treat them with warmth, kindness, and compassion. They are the reason we do what we do every single day. Patient care is why we try to streamline operations, so these patients get to the right bed, the first time. It’s also why we add transparency to improve communications between caregivers. And, why we provide support for every step of a patient’s journey, to make it as seamless as possible for the patient and their family. Here’s a short story to illustrate how I view the ideal state of operational excellence.