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Conversations about Optimizing Hospital Operations

The Affordable Healthcare Act: Go or No Go?

Affordable Healthcare ActDoes anyone really know what the Supreme Court did last week?

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act is good news for suppliers of the type of medical information technology which helps hospitals maximize existing capacity.

That is, if the high court actually upheld the Act.  That is once again in dispute as a second round of critical analysis gets underway to determine what the court actually did rule. Writing in the New York Times’ Health Care BlogJeff Goldsmith didn’t see last week’s ruling as a win for the act.

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Categories: Author: Dennis Morabito, Financial Health of Hospitals

The High Cost of “Free” Patient Flow Software

Cost of FreeAs the saying goes, if you think you can have it all, you probably don’t know what you’re missing.

That’s very often the case when hospital technology vendors “throw-in” free software. The cost of “free” goes up in direct proportion to the number of capabilities left out.

Hospital patient flow and capacity management software is a very good example.  As federal incentives gave the EMR market a huge boost, some vendors acquired start-up patient flow companies. Others developed “bed tracking”, “bed management” or “transport” applications and offer them “free” as part of the multi-million dollar price tags and multi-year implementations hospitals sign up for.  While these offerings may provide basic patient flow, or more likely, visibility into broken processes, they do not offer the true sophisticated data analysis capabilities, workflow automation and hospital operations expertise needed to manage hospital enterprise capacity in real time.

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Categories: EMR / Healthcare IT

ED Hallway Boarding Victims and Hospital Infection

ED Hallway BoardingWe all knew hallway boarding was bad for patients. Now we know a little more about why. It has to do with hospital infection.

A study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital showed emergency room caregivers were least likely to practice good hand hygiene when tending to hallway patients. The study, which was the  largest ever focused on ED hand hygiene, supports studies in Ireland which said boarding was another way hospital infection was spread.

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Categories: Hospital Infection Control, Overcrowding, Patient Flow

Automation in Hospitals: Why is it “taboo” in many?

NursebotNot long ago, the word “automation” was taboo throughout the hospital industry.

Hospitals were under increasing criticism for discharging patients prematurely and “automation” conjured up images of assembly line medicine among the general population and healthcare employees alike. The hospital culture argued that “each case is different” and “these are human beings, not cars.”

While every case may indeed be different from others in the same category, the processes surrounding the treatment of each case have some similarities. Patients have to be checked in, registered, assigned a room, tested, treated, stepped down, healed, tested again and finally discharged, often to another facility. At most hospitals, those processes include many, many manual tasks related to the movement of those patients through the institution. A large majority of those tasks can now be automated via computer software and real-time location technology.

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Categories: Author: Dennis Morabito, Real-Time Capacity Management

Nation’s Overcrowded EDs: Biggest Challenge for Hospitals, Study Says

Emergency DepartmentThe current overcrowded status of the nation’s EDs is the biggest challenge claim respondents to a survey conducted recently by HealthLeaders Media (see Best EDs Focus on Flow.)

Nearly half identified overcrowded EDs as the No. 1 challenge, and more than half say overcrowding in the ED will jeopardize patient safety.

Forty six percent said overcrowding exists in their hospitals and almost 100 percent say they’ve been taking action to alleviate the problem. Just 25 percent were expanding their EDs.

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Categories: Real-Time Capacity Management

How Nurses Can Impact Length of Stay

Length of StayLength Of Stay is an odd reimbursement metric.

It basically ignores the fact that each individual presumably heals at a different rate, and instead relies on the law of averages.

With reimbursement regulations like LOS due to stiffen, hospitals are scrambling to find better ways to comply. One way is to look at the many activities surrounding healing to determine if they can be done in less time.

Maria Romano knows a lot about time. For the past seven years she was the Patient Logistics Operational Manager at St. Peter’s Health Care Services in Albany, NY.

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Categories: Author: Dennis Morabito, Real-Time Capacity Management

Was Your Hospital Software “Installed” or “Implemented”?

Installed vs. ImplementedIt may seem like semantics, but if you think “installed” and “implemented” hospital software are essentially the same, you could be heading for disaster.

Understanding their correct definitions can save you a lot of headaches – with your hospital software vendor as well as your boss.

There are many ways to describe the difference, but the simplest is this:

  • Installation gets the item working.
  • Implementation gets it working for your hospital’s needs.

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Categories: Hospital Software Implementation

Leading Hospitals Use TeleTracking to Manage Capacity. Do You?

Best Hospitals Use TeleTrackingMost Leading Hospitals use TeleTracking’s Capacity Management software to improve operations and streamline throughput. Do you?

They say you’re judged by the company you keep.

By that standard, TeleTracking ranks with the very best…literally.

Most leading U.S. hospitals have now deployed TeleTracking’s capacity management solutions, according to a recent review of “Best” and “Top” hospital lists.

That includes over 80% of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals“, 13 of 17 (76%) “Honor Roll” hospitals, and seven of the top 10 honorees.

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Categories: Author: Michael Gallup, Real-Time Capacity Management

In Hospitals: Size doesn’t matter. Capacity Management does!

Size Does MatterDoes size really matter?

As it relates to hospitals, the answer to that age-old question is no. Because no matter how large or small the hospital, it will be plagued with capacity problems unless that capacity is managed actively and correctly.

This is particularly pertinent today as the healthcare industry and the Nation await a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act. 

While the federal government demands the removal of more “waste” from the nation’s health care system, the industry is responding with the biggest building boom since World War II. The most common reason given is the aging of the Baby Boom generation, and depending upon the High Court verdict, the possibility of 30-40 million newly insured Americans seeking more medical aid. 

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Categories: Author: Michael Gallup, Real-Time Capacity Management

“Patient safety and quality – are hospitals doing all they can?”

Hospital Patient SafetyIt has been well over a decade since the landmark report To Err Is Human was released by the Institute of Medicine. That study said preventable medical errors caused up to 98,000 deaths each year. Those findings established medical error as one of the leading cause of death in the United States.

The study rocked the medical community because until then, hospital leaders believed some errors and infection were inevitable. We all accept that “accidents do happen.” But most of us acknowledge that many are preventable.  Apparently that’s not the case with all hospitals.

A controversial report released the other day by the Leapfrog Groupnoted that even now about 400 people die every day – the equivalent of one large jetliner crashing and killing all aboard– because of hospital errors.

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Categories: Patient Safety, Real-Time Capacity Management