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Conversations about Optimizing Hospital Operations

The Value of Time

Eliminating healthcare wasteTime – no one ever seems to have enough of it.  And nowhere is that more true than in healthcare, where the pace is hectic, the atmosphere is chaotic and wasted time has implications.  Implications that range from emergency department overcrowding and anxious patients waiting in hallways for beds, operating rooms  not being maximized, patients being turned away because there’s no capacity, etc.

Yet with healthcare, unlike in other industries, time has never been part of the waste discussion.  In healthcare, waste is excessive administrative costs, unnecessary services, inefficient care delivery, inflated prices, fraud and  prevention failures.

That mentality is changing though.  An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Better Care at Lower Cost, pointed out that one of the top recommendations for improved healthcare productivity is optimized operations.  Specifically the report recommends that organizations: “Continuously improve health care operations to reduce waste, streamline care delivery, and focus on activities that improve patient health.  Care delivery organizations should apply systems engineering tools and process improvement methods to improve operations and care delivery processes.”

When operational efficiency is maximized and wasted time is minimized, the impact is significant.  For example,

  • Methodist Healthcare System added $51 million to its bottom line by decreasing costs, maximizing existing capacity and increasing transfers
  • The Hospital of the University of of Pennsylvania increased surgical productivity by 30% without adding operating rooms, an improvement they have sustained for the last 10 years
  • The Children’s Hospital of Atlanta treated an additional 14,000 children by boosting its ability to accept transfers

For more examples, click here.

All of these providers implemented real-time automation – making it possible to convert wasted time into productive time.  From bed turns, to patient transport, to post-op, to discharge, these organizations used technology to streamline their operations and gain a competitive advantage.

In fact, when it comes to gaining an edge, researched at the University of Wisconsin suggest that maximizing  the potential of time may be one of the greatest opportunities in the 21st century.  And that is a big reason why industry is turning to the ‘real-time enterprise’ or RTE model.  RTEs use a network of intelligent sensing devices, combined with automation, to provide a “moving picture” of productivity.  This makes instantaneous decision-making possible because managers always know what is going on – whether they’re at their desks or on their mobile device.

TeleTracking brings RTE to healthcare providers on an integrated, web-based, enterprise-wide platform.  Data such as bed turnaround times, emergency department average wait times, discharge times and average length of stay are measured against key performance indicators in easy-to-read graph displays. Combined with real-time alerts and notifications, they make it possible for staff to react immediately, rather than requiring days or weeks to analyze performance data to come up with solutions.

Taking data and turning it into actionable intelligence that is critical to reducing waste and streamlining care delivery is what TeleTracking does best.

To learn more, click below to listen to an interview with Bill Griffith, Director of Operational Excellence, at Health First, Melbourne, FL.

Categories: Waste in Healthcare