Getting real results from patient throughput projects

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Inpatient and ancillary services

Curt Niekamp
Process Improvement Specialist

Mike Holland
Process Excellence Director

John Rudy
Process Improvement Specialist

Amanda McNutt
Process Improvement Specialist

We will take a deeper look at the major drivers to patient throughput. Discover how to shift hospital-wide paradigms by sharing information, exposing problems, and eliminating waste. Learn ways to move patients through the system without delays to free up beds. When beds turn faster, LOS is decreased and admissions increase, which results in increased revenue.

We approach a large scale hospital-wide patient throughput project with the following three goals:

  • Ensure open access to the hospital.
  • Improve patient satisfaction.
  • Improve the overall efficiency of the hospital.

Our key metrics include ED elopements and diversion, PACU holds, direct admit holds, and internal transfers.

To understand our true demand, we must first understand where we put our patients and determine if the initial unit placement was correct. To do this, we break down our units into five categories: critical care, intermediate, telemetry, general medicine, and general surgery. We compare these results against or current listed capacities to understand our deficiencies and areas of excess capacity. The results of this analysis identify our need to reduce delays, eliminate waste associated with patient transfers, and better assess our staffing needs.

We have broken the patient stay down into three elements:

  • Getting the patient from their point of entry to their unit (the front end)
  • The unit caring time
  • Discharge orders to patient leaving the facility including room turn around (the back end).

Our initial focus and successes have been on the front and back end processes.