“We knew we had to do something to better utilize our existing resources to improve patient flow—which would then positively impact both patient care and employee job satisfaction,” said Hope Stack, Director, Patient Flow Operations. “We weren’t utilizing TeleTracking to its fullest capacity; patient placement was decentralized, so patients weren’t going to the right bed the first time; emergency department [ED] and post-anesthesia care units [PACU] were holding patients; and our length of stay was trending upward. In addition, our largest site, Palmetto Health Richland, was usually at 95% capacity.”
Under the guidance of TeleTracking’s Advisory Services team, operational changes were implemented, including the creation of a dedicated patient flow improvement team that involved executive leadership, a daily bed meeting, and the alignment of patient placement with patient flow. “We combined those changes with process redesign and the optimization of our patient flow solutions, and almost immediately witnessed throughput improvements and a reduction in delays,” said Harmony Robinson, CHES, System Manager, Patient Centered Care. “These changes also helped support our implementation of Accountable Care Units—which leadership believed could further improve length of stay, quality and service.”
Palmetto Health is a nonprofit healthcare system in South Carolina that includes five inpatient facilities with a total of 1,138 beds and 15,000 team members. Every employee is dedicated to fulfilling the Palmetto Health vision—to be remembered by each patient as providing the care and compassion we want for our families and ourselves. However, without a comprehensive approach to support effective patient flow— getting patients to the right bed, the first time—it was becoming difficult to realize this vision.