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The Concept of 'Time' - now an Area of Focus in Healthcare

More than a decade ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report called, Crossing the Quality Chasm, which identified six fundamental aims for healthcare – that it be safe, effective, patient-centered, efficient, equitable and timely.  While the first five objectives are easily understandable and have been studied extensively – the concept of timehas only recently become an area of focus.  And yet the implications of time are significant because it impacts a patient’s experience if they are waiting in the ED for a bed; it impacts hospital operations if rooms and equipment aren’t accessible or staff members are being over or under-utilized; and it impacts the ability to use data to react to operational trends.

 

The IOM recently turned their attention to the subject of time in healthcare with the study, Transforming Health Care Scheduling and Access: Getting to Now.  Other industries, such as manufacturing, have seen the benefits of analyzing tasks and time and then using process improvement strategies to streamline operations – reaping productivity and financial benefits.

To download TeleTracking’s Value of Time whitepaper, click here.

So what does the IOM say we can learn from these industries, and how do we apply these lessons to healthcare?

One way is by incorporating industrial engineering strategies such as Lean and Six Sigma – which makes it possible for healthcare providers to have an impact on their comprehensive operations.  The IOM suggests using this approach to take steps such as:

  • Defining, focus, identifying the components and building capacity: This involves looking at supply and demand between patients and resources, establishing data analysis and measurement procedures and committing to continuous process improvement.
  • Balancing Supply & Demand: A clear set of metrics helps balance supply and demand along each step of a hospital stay, making it possible to adjust processes accordingly for maximum effectiveness.
  • Creating the Infrastructure for Data Analysis and Measurement: Knowing the right health information technology infrastructure for your facility is essential to generating data that helps with operational planning.  By monitoring patient flow, you are able to see what the patterns of demand are, make decisions about how to adjust provider supply, and find ways to handle bottlenecks – resulting in improved revenues, hospital performance and patient care.
  • Continuous Process Improvement: Building the system is an important first step, but it is the commitment to integrating it with your facility that leads to long term success.  You need to have the right IT systems in place to manage the flow of information while also ensuring a commitment from everyone in the organization to continue learning, sharing knowledge and innovating change.

At TeleTracking, we understand the impact of time.  In fact, for the past 25 years we’ve been committed to maximizing time in healthcare with process improvements that eliminate the waste caused by inefficiencies.  When it comes to access to care, we provide real-time enterprise visibility so that managers can assess patient demand and staffing resources—improve patient flow, create capacity and improve the patient intake process. And with the centralization of patient placement, the process gets off to a strong start, making it possible to maximize patient throughput all the way through an optimized, automated discharge process—leading to better care and the ability to serve more patients.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can streamline and automate communications across the care continuum with visually rich displays, dispatch messaging driven by logic, and real-time analytics, schedule an appointment with a TeleTracking representative by contacting us at 800-331-3603 or info@teletracking.com.

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