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Conversations about Optimizing Hospital Operations

Value Based Care: High Reliability, Complexity & Patient-flow

Scott Newton, DNP, RN, MHA, EMT-P,  Vice President of Care Model Solutions at TeleTracking—and a patient flow expert with more than 25 years of clinical experience—shared his thoughts on this topic during a webinar on March 21.  The following is a recap, along with questions that were submitted from audience members.

Here’s the challenge that every healthcare provider faces.  How do you maximize resources in order to generate the best possible patient outcomes?  One answer to that question is through value-based care—a strategy that provides improved outcomes at the same or reduced costs.  And in order to achieve those positive outcomes, a high level of process reliability is essential —which is done through a combination of people, technology, equipment, supplies and process.

Value-based care [VBC] has gained particular significance recently in light of the fact Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] will be increasing VBC payments in 2018 and private payers typically follow CMS policy.  This makes coordination and collaboration across the care continuum even more important—and which is tied to ensuring that people get the care they need, when they need it.  Because when patients don’t—when they have to wait—the costs are profound:

  • 20 million unnecessary patient days
  • 3-5 million additional patients could be served
  • 37,000 deaths correlated with ED boarding/year
  • $100 billion per year in hospital operational inefficiency
  • 9 million patients leave without being seen while 39% of hospital beds remain unoccupied

With value based care—and high reliability further enhanced with patient flow—this waiting can be mitigated.  The result is better individual care, better population health and lower costs.  Specifically, this is done through a:

  • Preoccupation with failed access, throughput and discharges
  • Reluctance to simplify clinical care
  • Sensitivity to operational readiness
  • Deference to clinical and operational expertise
  • Commitment to organizational resilience

Patient flow also adds calm to the complexity of a health system—instead of diverse points of control, multiple stakeholders and a tendency to self-organize.    The result is:

  • Small inputs that produce large system wide effects
  • Connected units with consistent relationships
  • Predictable automated communications
  • Interconnected units perform integrated functions

Taking all of this information together, it comes down to five key characteristics that make high reliability organizations with a patient flow strategy successful:

  • Let the experts be experts
  • Drive clinicians and staff to do the highest value work
  • Create a culture of proactivity
  • Build a centralized healthcare command center
  • Use data to drive performance

Thank you to everyone who submitted questions after the webinar. We’re happy to answer them here.

How does patient flow impact the value based care agenda?

Patient flow can impact the value based agenda directly by adding efficiency to the communication process among care teams as patients move through their care progression journey. The care environment becomes enabled with reliable patient movements and processes, reducing variation and lost time. When communications are efficient and variation is reduced, then patient needs can be coordinated with precision—giving rise to reliable clinical services delivery in support of quality outcomes.

What effect does highly reliable patient flow have on quality outcomes?

When patient flow performance is highly reliable and sustained across an organization, it has a smoothing effect to the peaks and valleys of work. When the workloads are more predictable, resources can be better deployed to provide the best patient care. When patient needs and resources are aligned, patients are able to access care when they need it, in the right location and at the right level. Timely access to care, improved outcomes and lower costs are net results.

We have a very complex care system. How can we get patient flow to be a part of our daily operations?

Complex health systems without a patient flow focus often find that nearly all stakeholders can relate to the resulting challenges.  However, those challenges can serve as a catalyst to bring cross-functional collaboration, and a sequential approach to care teams. As collaborative relationships develop, stability among separate units matures. As stability matures the care transitions for patients are more reliable and care coordination is enhanced.

Of all the insights shared which one is the most important?

While all five of the insights are important to building and sustaining a highly reliable patient flow program, the single most impactful is the use of data to drive change. Collecting, sharing and discussing the performance data with the staff performing the work is what drives change. This method provides essential closed loop accountability.

Categories: Webinar

TeleTracking Recognizes Patient Safety Awareness Week || National Patient Safety Foundation

The National Patient Safety Foundation’s  Patient Safety Awareness Week kicked off Sunday, March 12th and is a week dedicated to not only raising awareness about patient safety, but also recognizing the efforts of healthcare professionals to keep patients safe.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) placed a spotlight on the issue of medical errors— and the related patient safety concerns— more than 15 years ago.  While significant advances have been made, there is still work to be done since even one error is one error too many.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Just Released: Patient Flow Quarterly issue 4

Patient Flow Quarterly Issue 4

Success is something we believe should be celebrated with others. For example, a 35% decrease in emergency department throughput times; patient discharge times dropping to four hours from their original eight; on-time starts improving from 50 to 75%; and bed request to occupy time more than cut in half from 13.7 to 5.8 hours.

These numbers are achievable, and they are patient flow achievements that your colleagues at nearby hospitals and health systems are driving.

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Categories: Patient Flow

Extraordinary Nurses in Patient Flow

The DAISY Foundation
The DAISY Foundation

We’re excited to announce the kickoff of an exciting new partnership with The DAISY FoundationThe DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses in Patient Flow.  The award recognizes the amazing work nurses do behind the scenes to ensure patients are receiving the right care, in the right place, and at the right time.

To nominate a nurse or team of nurses that often work behind the scenes to manage and improve patient flow, click here for more information.

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Categories: Author: Nanne Finis, Patient Flow

Innovator of the Year for Health IT

Innovator of the YearWe’re proud to be based in Pittsburgh, PA!  And, on November 3rd, we were equally proud to be honored as Innovator of the Year: Health IT at the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s Tech 50 Awards.  For 20 years, the Tech 50 Award has honored southwestern Pennsylvania’s most successful and innovative technology companies – list of finalists.

The award criteria included recent newsworthy events, key 2016 accomplishments, how products are revolutionizing the market and regional economic impact.  The judging panel was impressed with TeleTracking’s double digit growth for the last five years, the implementation of 100 new patient flow solutions at some of the country’s largest health systems, and the end result of more patients receiving timely access to care.  For example, health systems that have implemented TeleTracking have realized results such as:

  • patient transfer volume up 230% in 6 quarters
  • emergency department diversion hours all but eliminated
  • emergency department wait times decreased by 33,000 hours
  • reduction in patient admit (in ED) to occupy (patient room) time by more than 3 hours
  • decrease in unplanned discharges by 30%

As Mike Gallup, president of TeleTracking, accepted the award, he shared his thoughts on the robust nature of the Pittsburgh tech market by saying, “I’ve worked in Silicon Valley, Research Triangle Park in Raleigh and now in Pittsburgh.  There is no better place than Pittsburgh right now for technology and innovation and the people are the reason for that.  They have an incredibly strong work ethic that consistently leads to high quality results.”

We’d like to extend our sincere thanks to the Pittsburgh tech community for the supportive, innovative culture that is fostered here.  And we’d also like to thank our clients for their ongoing belief in the importance of patient flow and the role that TeleTracking plays in helping them deliver outstanding care.

Produced for the ceremony, we’re happy to share this video that brings our life.

Categories: About Us, Patient Flow

What You Missed at TeleCon16

TeleTracking Employees
TeleTracking Employees from left to right: Bob Young, Eric Kramer, Kari McLaughlin, Shelley Weisend, Mark Munson

TeleCon16 brought hundreds of healthcare professionals to the Naples Grande Beach Resort last week for three days of best practice sharing, education and networking.  This was also a celebration of TeleTracking’s 25th anniversary, and @TheRealTeleBear made an appearance Sunday evening during registration!  Vice President of Marketing, Kris Kaneta opened the conference Monday, October 10th with a heartfelt thank you to those who traveled despite Hurricane Matthew’s devastation in the southeast, and reiterated that TeleTracking is committed to providing innovative solutions that will ensure that patients never have to wait for quality care.

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Categories: #TeleCon16

DAISY Award – Recognizing Extraordinary Nurses for Excellence

The DAISY Foundation
The DAISY Foundation

DAISY Award – Recognizing Extraordinary Nurses for Excellence in Patient Flow and their Commitment to Timely, Compassionate, Well-coordinated Patient Care

Bonnie and Mark Barnes are the co-founders of The DAISY Foundation, an organization that recognizes the important role that nurses play in delivering thoughtful, compassionate care to patients.  The Barnes created The DAISY Foundation to honor the memory of their son Patrick and the outstanding nurses who cared for him during his battle with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura [ITP], an autoimmune disorder.

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Categories: Patient Flow

Achieving Patient Flow Outcomes through Collaboration

Patient Flow Quarterly
Patient Flow Quarterly issue 3

Collaboration is creating something by working jointly with others –  which is critical when it comes to addressing inefficiencies in healthcare and achieving patient flow outcomes.  For example, we know that one in three dollars spent on healthcare in the U.S. is wasted—medical errors alone add up to more than $17 billion, preventable re-admissions and hospital acquired infections another $28 billion, and operational inefficiencies add tens of billions more (source: Price Waterhouse Coopers).  In addition, a recent Bloomberg study ranked the United States 44th out of 51 in healthcare efficiency.  Basically we outspend every nation by a wide margin as a percentage of GDP, yet when it comes to results, our outcomes remain firmly in the middle of the pack.

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Categories: Author: Kris Kaneta, Patient Flow

Amazing Client Success Stories at #TeleCon16

#TeleCon16Streamlining patient access and throughput via Operational Command Centers has proven beneficial when it comes to providing quality patient care.

TeleTracking is thrilled to feature a number of organizations that will share their patient flow journeys and measurable achievements at TeleTracking’s Annual Client Conference, October 9-12, 2016 at the beautiful Naples Grande Beach Resort, Naples, FL.

More Info / Register Now!

For a sneak peek of these sessions see below:

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Categories: #TeleCon16

Carilion Clinic presents at The King’s Fund in London

Ideal CareCarilion Clinic presented on outcomes associated with TeleTracking’s patient flow solutions.

Healthcare leaders and professionals recently gathered at The King’s Fund: Digital Health and Care Congress 2016 in London.  The theme of the two-day conference was – enabling patient centered care through information and technology – by exploring how technology and data can support the developments necessary to transform and sustain outcomes for patients and citizens across the globe.

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Categories: Patient Flow