Improving Patient Throughput

Managing Patient Throughput is critically important to hospital profitability and patient satisfaction.  Utilizing your rooms and beds as efficiently as possible not only ensures patients have a comfortable stay at your facility but also greatly impacts your bottom line.  There are several important considerations to take into account to ensure that your patient throughput strategies and tools are effective.

Awareness

Efficient transport of patients is essential to your hospital’s patient flow and overall satisfaction.  Do you have a firm understanding of how long it takes, from start to finish, for a room to be turned over?  Are you aware of how your rooms are being tracked?  Often times, turnover protocol involves too many steps which can slow the process and prove inefficient.   Improving throughput efficiencies increases clinical productivity and reduces costs per transport trip while shrinking wait times.  In order to improve efficiencies, you must first be fully aware of your current patient throughput systems.

Accountability

Once you have a clear picture of your patient throughput it is essential to determine ways the system can be improved.  It is important to study your patient process functions and measure existing productivity through industry standard metrics.  The major expense of the patient transport services is labor driven. Understanding and managing the productivity of your transport staff is vital to achieving greater accountability and best practice results.

How easy is it for your staff to report that a room is in need of cleaning?  Who is responsible for reporting turn over needs?  With a goal of moving patients into rooms as quickly and efficiently as possible, it is important to make everyone accountable for reporting so the necessary protocol can occur and you can avoid situations where patients spend hours waiting in the emergency room because a room is not clean.  Bed tracking software can help you understand where there may be pitfalls or inefficiencies and can help you improve practices.  You may also look at automated transport and patient flow systems in the industry to gain insights and improve accountability.

Apply Proven Best Practices

Once you understand the entire picture of what is taking place, you’re ready to take measures to improve performance, through applying proven best practices.   For example, industry technology and its associated costs are critical to ensuring successful outcomes.  Hospitals with excellent patient throughput have well-functioning bed tracking systems.  This allows them to understand what their production time looks like and enables them to hone in on areas where improvement is needed.  Recognizing this, it is important that you carefully review your existing technology and ensure it is operating optimally.  Or perhaps you need to consider the purchase of transport technology.  As you navigate this process it is helpful to have a neutral point of view to identify the pros and cons of the options available so you can determine the most cost effective options for your organization.

Avoid Hospital Associated Infections (HAI)

Along with efficient protocols and bed tracking software, you need to consider the measures you are taking to avoid hospital associated infections.  There are huge costs associated with these infections and they impact patient satisfaction negatively.  While measures to reduce the spread of infection, like UV equipment, are expensive and time consuming, they can make a positive, long-term impact on hospitals and must be weighed accordingly.

Align Goals with Practical Procedures

Your goals must align with what is practical on a day-to-day basis.  It is most important to understand the things you can control, the measures you can take, and industry best practices.  Then, you must find the appropriate balance and procedures for your facility.  If you have rooms that are empty and waiting for cleaning, then you are not admitting patients efficiently and are losing money.  UV equipment will decrease the risk of hospital acquired infections but using them means that rooms are not ready as quickly for new patients.  Developing procedures that are logical will require you to balance when to deploy these machines and when improvement in throughput time is more essential.   Synergy between nonaligned service lines must be established so that the cleaning of rooms, transport of patients, and patient placement activities align, allowing your throughput system to execute seamlessly and effortlessly.

To learn how Soriant Healthcare can help you improve performance in Patient Throughput, contact us at 770.777.6633 or [email protected]

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