All posts by Amie Podolak

It Takes Three – People, Process and Technology

My journey with TeleTracking actually started a few years ago when I was a client. I was at  my first TeleTracking client conference, and I vividly remember sitting in amazement as I listened to a series of  success stories from hospitals across the country talking about the ways they were empowered to improve access to medical care, to the people who needed it most, with the guidance of TeleTracking.  As a clinician, I was intrigued to learn about the solutions available to become more efficient and give precious time back to caregivers. » Continue reading

Categories: Client Success Management, Patient Access

Tips from the Experts: Process over Chaos with Flu Season in Full Swing

Flu Season 2018 - Process over Chaos

The holiday season is over and flu season is in full swing.  Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say things may get worse before they get better due to an imperfect vaccine and exceptionally cold weather.  And this means that hospitals from California to Maine are dealing with surging EDs—leading to challenges with everything from long wait times to overnight holds to inpatient admission delays.

In fact, some health systems are seeing a 16% increase in ED visits and almost a 40% increase in acuity [according to Brittany Lindsey, Director of Patient Flow, UAB Hospital, Birmingham, AL].  “We have setup our PACUs as additional ICUs, we are looking at staffing our EP cardiology unit as a flu unit, we are using our Post Recovery for our Heart and Vascular Center as a 23 hour bedded outpatient location, and certain floors of our women’s hospital have been converted to regular acute care for all genders,” according to Lindsey.

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Categories: Author: Joy Avery, Author: Scott Newton, Command Center, Disaster Preparedness

Hospitals Aren’t Hotels ― Finding Balance with Staggered Discharge Times

Discharge Times and Capacity

How many times have we seen patient flow projects that center around “out by 11am” or “home by noon”?  It’s often suggested, “Can’t we put a sign in the room that says discharge is 11am?”  It’s true, we need to create capacity early in the day to reduce wait times for early ED (emergency department) arrivals and early PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) patients, but at what cost?  Is there really a need to get as many patients as possible out as early as possible, or is finding balance and staggering discharge times just as effective?  There’s a key factor to consider before putting pressure on precious hospital resources to discharge early –  Queuing Theory and the Utilization Curve.

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Categories: Author: Deb Kaczynski, Discharge Efficiency

The Emergence of the Nurse Navigator Role in Patient Flow

Susan Kilgore
L to R: Tena Barnes-Carraher, Nancy Niski-Martin, Susan Kilgore, Nanne Finis

Today’s reality―an aging population with increasing healthcare needs, highly complex inpatient cases, and sharply rising costs combined with shrinking reimbursement, are challenging hospitals to optimize internal operations and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of care.  Additionally, emergency department (ED) overcrowding that results from delays in getting patients placed in a bed can also result in ambulance diversions―all of which negatively impact the quality and safety of patient care.  Not to mention the fact that hospitals risk losing revenue from inefficient processes.

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Categories: Author: Nanne Finis

TeleCon17 | Day Three Recap

Interactive Workshop at TeleCon17

The final day of TeleCon17 was dedicated to showcasing customer success stories.  Sessions were held in casual, roundtable formats that facilitated engagement and great conversations between the presenters and attendees.  Session presenters and topics included:

  • BayCare Health System: Centralizing Patient Transport, Fine Tuning Dispatch Logic and Sharing Best Practices across an Enterprise
  • NYU Winthrop: Demonstrating Compliance w/ Joint Commission’s Patient Flow Standard utilizing TeleTracking Data
  • Palmetto Health: Interdisciplinary Patient Centered Care Rounding and Optimization through TeleTracking Advisory Services
  • Providence Regional Medical Center Everett: President’s Award for Strategic Innovation – The Services Operations Center
  • John Health System: Utilizing LTACs to Reduce Average Length of Stay
  • University Hospitals: Journey with Advisory Services around Strategic Planning, Discharge Readiness and Precision Patient Placement
  • UPMC: Managing Data throughout an Enterprise
  • Sharp HealthCare: Centralizing Patient Placement
  • McLeod Health: Redefining the Discharge Process
  • Oklahoma University Med. Ctr. & UCHealth: Launching a Transfer Center
  • Providence Regional Medical Center: Building an Operational Command Center
  • Sarasota Memorial Hospital: Extending into Procedural & Diagnostic Areas
  • University of Alabama Medicine: Using Data to Enhance Patient Flow & Drive Change
  • Stamford Health: Enabling Technologies to Automate Workflow Processes

» Continue reading

Categories: #TeleCon17

Successful Collaboration Under Pressure: What Healthcare Can Learn from Emergency Management

Hurricane’s Harvey, Irma and Maria; a 7.1 earthquake in Mexico City; and wildfires from Montana to Southern California – September 2017 has been marked by this series natural disasters, but also by amazing stories of survival, heroic acts, and resilience.  Readiness and preparedness activities were tested. Disaster plans were stretched beyond imagination. And human spirits were pushed farther than ever thought possible.

The lessons learned from these types of situations translate to healthcare.

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Categories: Author: Scott Newton, Command Center, Disaster Preparedness, Healthcare Operations Management

I Will Do This For My Duke Life Flight Colleagues

As I prepare to take off from New York City, our national memorial from 9/11, I am struck by the changes that we have seen in our lives since 2001.  We have experienced terror, we know of those who are afraid to fly, we have anxiety for the safety of our family and friends because of terrorist threats and attacks, and I am personally very concerned about the future of our healthcare systems.

We lost Duke Life Flight colleagues a few weeks ago in a helicopter crash while transporting a patient to the hospital.  I am in awe of health care professionals who risk their lives daily to place their patients in the right hospital, with the right specialty services, with the right physician, and the right level of care… immediately.

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Categories: Author: Susan McClean Whitehurst, Patient Flow

Beyond the Four Walls of a Hospital

Beyond the Four Walls of a HospitalA hospital stay can be difficult for both the patient and their family.  And when the next step involves moving beyond the four walls of the hospital to a post-acute facility, the placement can be both time consuming and stressful—even if the patient is staying within the health system.

From the patient’s perspective, they may still be quite ill and want to transition easily to the next step in their treatment plan.  From the health system perspective, they also want to help the patient who is ready to leave—and consequently open up that acute care bed for the next patient that needs it.

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Categories: Patient Flow

Top 5 Reasons to Attend TeleCon17

Looking for a reason to attend TeleCon17?

Katie Romano, TeleTracking’s new Head of Customer Experience,  shares her thoughts on what customers can expect at the one and only patient flow conference of the year – TeleCon17.  And if you missed her recent podcast, be sure to listen by clicking here.

TeleCon17 | 1 | Patient FlowAccess to our experts.

We’re dedicating time for you to be with the best of the best in our advanced workshops. They’ll be available to advise on how you, personally, can move forward on your patient flow journey. This is hands-on time – you’re encouraged to come with your data, challenges & objectives, and we’ll help you create an action plan. Who are these experts, you ask?  Take a look at TeleTracking’s Experts in the Field! » Continue reading

Categories: Author: Katie Romano, Client Conference, TeleCon

Opening Doors & Increasing Access at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Heather Boyle, Director of Patient Logistics
Heather Boyle, Director of Patient Logistics

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, in Hershey, PA is a leading provider of specialized medical care in central Pennsylvania, and is the only hospital with dual adult and pediatric Level 1 trauma accreditation in the state. Before making patient flow a priority in 2012, Hershey was at critical capacity for years. As the volume of patients increased, it became more challenging to move patients through the system in order to accept new patients—especially those coming in as transfers. In addition, the system was decentralized—while calls were coming into one number, it took a series of steps to accept the patient and get them to the right place for the right care.

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Categories: Client Case Studies, Patient Access, Patient Flow