Did you know that setting some time aside annually can help optimize the performance of TeleTracking at your health system? Many of us follow preventative and/or annual maintenance schedules for our autos, HVAC systems, smoke, fire, and carbon dioxide detectors to help ensure our safety and comfort. By taking a similar approach with your TeleTracking applications, you can help ensure that your solutions are functioning properly, providing the optimal support to the organization and driving the outcomes to meet your patient flow and throughput strategies.
Initiating the ideal TeleTracking maintenance program begins with engaging your TeleTracking Client Success Manager and your organization’s Patient Flow Steering Committee. Working collaboratively, these individuals oversee your annual maintenance plan and establish appropriate objectives, guidelines and desired outcomes related to a successful project.
Here are five examples of objectives to get everyone energized and engaged in the development of a thorough maintenance plan:
Version Review and Assessment – Does your organization possess the latest and greatest version of TeleTracking? If you are not on our current version, your organization runs the risk of missing out on innovative functionality and performance improvements for improved patient flow.
- Ensure both your System Analyst / IT departments and your operational leaders are involved, since collaboration is important to the overall success and functionality of the server hardware and software programs that support TeleTracking applications.
- Schedule a business review with your Client Success Manager to determine if there is functionality that should be prioritized and/or optimized with some focused attention and training.
- If you’re ready to upgrade, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Census Configuration – If your institution resembles most American hospitals during flu season, you probably open non-traditional units and add overflow beds to make the necessary accommodations for the blitz of patients requiring hospitalization. Additionally, many organizations make changes to their facility blueprints throughout the year; such as renovating rooms, units, and adding or closing clinical areas to adjust to changes in the market, while meeting the needs of patients. Ultimately, you should collaborate with your IT department for a side-by-side matching of integrated information within your ADT, EHR, and TeleTracking systems each year; however here are some quick and easy tips for maintaining accurate reporting of your census data within Capacity Management Suite™.
- Ensure your licensed bed count is accurate―remember that all census reporting is calculated using your physical and staffed bed numbers. Reach out to your executive sponsor and/or regulatory compliance officer to ensure that your licensed bed count matches that of your governing institution.
- Evaluate your Electronic BedBoard® for the census numbers of each unit. Are the number of physical beds correct? Is the current number of patients being calculated correctly? Any discrepancies can be investigated and corrected by drilling down by unit and bed within the Administrative Tools functionality.
- Are occupancy metrics from the overflow beds showing in the census numbers? Most times, these beds are not required to be licensed and may not be counted in your physical beds (dependent upon individual state requirements), but your overall census should show them as occupied and counted within the census numbers and percentages.
- Inclusion of overflow beds, added or removed units, and any other structural changes made within the organization (and within your TeleTracking platform) need to also be reflected in your reports and dashboards. If you have established automatically generated subscriptions in your reporting solutions, confirm that the area(s) is/are appropriately included or excluded from the previously established parameters.
Zone and Priority Alignment – A review of patient transport priorities should be performed by your organization’s Patient Flow Steering Committee at least annually in collaboration with operational leadership from the procedural, emergency department, and inpatient clinical areas. This oversight is necessary for a structured designation of priorities; whereas strategic directives and wildly important goals [WIGs] within your organization are maintained for optimal patient throughput―including impacts to care progression indicators, discharge milestones, and overall length of stay metrics.
Additionally, any changes to previously established zones in BedTracking® and TransportTracking™ need to be discussed and tested in depth with Environmental Services and Patient Transport leadership to preserve the alignment of personnel resources and goals related to bed turnaround times and total transport trip times.
Roles/Groups/View Updates – Is access to your TeleTracking applications granted via a central IT and/or human resources governance function? Who transfers or terminates access when users change roles or leave the organization? If this functionality is maintained at the department or administrative support level, does that individual remain in his/her role? In any case, it is a good idea to reevaluate your strategies to remain HIPAA compliant related to access and certify that your current users have the access and views they require to perform their roles at an optimal level.
Disaster Preparedness and Recovery – Often an afterthought, but this is one of the most important items to help assure that your organization’s disaster plan is adequately established, tested, and configured for your TeleTracking applications. Including your EMS, ED, IT, and operational team members, take this opportunity to participate in the execution of your organization’s disaster drill and be sure that it includes a potential threat and/or hostage scenario of your electronic systems and a simulation of reproducing the TeleTracking applications on a secure disaster server.
*Important note…when updating or changing your TeleTracking applications, always be sure to first utilize your test system so that any erroneous impact will be limited to your nonproductive environment.
It’s Spring—the perfect time to put these suggestions into practice and tune up your system. Contact your Client Service Manager and get started today.
Marc Mione is a Client Success Manager at TeleTracking and has been a licensed Registered Nurse for 26 years. Prior to joining TeleTracking, Marc held the position as a Nurse Executive with oversight of Clinical Support Services and performance improvement projects related to patient flow and patient throughput. Throughout his nursing career, Marc has held clinical and leadership positions as a Nurse in the Emergency Department, Trauma/Neuro ICU, and CardioVascular and NeuroInterventional Radiology and as a Clinical Liaison to Bed Management in the Central Pennsylvania and Hartford, Connecticut area.