“Waste Not”

That’s one way to reverse the accelerating upward spiral of healthcare costs, says the Institute of Medicine. Get rid of waste, said the IOM’s recent report on the state of U.S. healthcare, and save $762 billion a year.

The villain Waste in this case is comprised of the usual suspects– unnecessary tests and procedures, administrative redundancies, fraud, and their old sidekick, inefficiency.


But one very significant hoodlum was missing from the lineup – WAIT TIME.

One could argue that “inefficiency” covers the subject, but unless it is spelled out —T-I-M-E — it has a habit of slipping away un-noticed.

Now TIME is not intrinsically good or bad. But it becomes significant when wait time denies people access to the care or resources they need, or when it steals revenue from hospitals which badly need it to stay afloat.

Caregivers think of TIME in terms of the Golden Hour, that window of opportunity in which the proper care can be lifesaving. Or they think of TIME as that structure around which medication is given. To them, TIME is something to be contended with. Because they are so often living within the moment, it’s not seen as a valuable asset which can make or break an institution, stabilize balance sheets, or ensure that quality care is delivered to all who need it.

At the 10th Annual TeleTracking Client’s Conference late last month, TIME was the hero for a change. Client after client rose to applaud it with examples from their institutions of the good things that happen when TIME is not wasted.

Advocate Good Samaritan determined it could save over a million dollars each year just by eliminating the TIME it was holding blocked beds for potential C Diff patients. That previously wasted TIME was saved by analyzing predictive data from TeleTracking to justify the purchase of a quick-turnaround C Diff test which cut wait TIME for results from three days to three hours.
Lakeland Regional Medical Center cut the TIME it takes to place patients by 80 percent just by reducing EVS bed turnaround TIMES from 60 minutes to 40 minutes.
William Beaumont Hospital saved 300 hours in transport time with TeleTracking transport automation solutions.
The University of Utah realized $5.4 million in annual net margin contribution through the addition of 89 patient transfers per month with TeleTracking’s Transfer Center™ application. Again, this was accomplished by reducing the TIME wasted in the patient flow process.
Industrial powers throughout the world have been on a crusade to use TIME to their benefit. In fact, some of those who are supposed to know believe how companies use TIME will be the primary determinant of whether they succeed or fail.

How about you? How important is TIME at your institution. Have you ever assigned a dollar value to a minute of TIME? We have and are continually astounded at the cumulative impact of just-in-time processes and supporting technology on increasing revenue, decreasing cost and, ultimately, providing maximum patient access and quality of care.


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