Although a standard process for moving patients throughout a healthcare organization exists, literature shows that healthcare organizations prioritizing patient throughput do better than the rest. Patient outcomes improve dramatically when patient throughput is at the top of the list. According to Manuel (2023), the average wait time for a patient in the emergency Department to go to their room after admission is 90 minutes, and 120 minutes to be discharged from the ED. Unfortunately, outlier hospitals with significant patient throughput processes skew the mean. This means that other hospitals are well above these times.
This article aims to avoid spelling out specific strategies that improve patient wait times and throughput. However, it would be fantastic if a standard recipe existed. One ingredient of the formula is known, empowering leaders to prioritize throughput and understand its impact on patient outcomes. If you are a healthcare leader, please understand how pivotal your role and attitude are toward moving patients within and outside your organization. Minutes matter and allow the attention of our fantastic healthcare workers on the next patient that needs them the most.
In the world of healthcare, great leaders are those who don't just dictate; they ask questions, seek solutions, and drive meaningful change. One of the most pressing challenges in hospitals today is the often ineffective and inefficient movement of patients within the facility. It's a problem that impacts patient care, staff morale, and the hospital's overall performance. So, what can great leaders do to address this issue?
1. Fostering a Culture of Collaboration:Great leaders understand that solving complex challenges like patient movement requires a collective effort. They encourage collaboration among multidisciplinary teams, from nurses and doctors to logistics experts and administrators. By asking, "How can I help you solve this issue?" leaders inspire diverse minds to come together and find innovative solutions.
2. Leveraging Technology:Modern healthcare leaders recognize the value of technology in streamlining patient movement. They investigate and invest in advanced solutions like hospital information systems, real-time location tracking, and automated bed management to enhance the coordination of patient flow.
3. Lean Methodology and Continuous Improvement:Adopting lean principles allows leaders to identify waste, redundancy, and bottlenecks in patient movement processes. They empower their teams to implement incremental improvements continually. Small changes can lead to significant outcomes.
4. Data-Driven Decision-Making:Great leaders value data as a powerful tool for problem-solving. They collect, analyze, and use data to pinpoint areas of concern, predict patient flow needs, and assess the effectiveness of new strategies.
5. Educating and Training Staff:Leaders invest in developing their staff by providing training on effective patient movement strategies. They empower employees with the knowledge and skills needed to improve processes, foster teamwork, and enhance the patient experience.
6. Patient-Centered Care:Outstanding leaders always remember the primary focus: the patient. They involve patients and their families in the conversation, seeking insights into what works and doesn't. By asking, "How can we improve your experience?" they ensure that solutions are patient-centered.
7. Anticipating and Preventing Issues:Proactive leaders anticipate challenges in patient movement and develop contingency plans. They ask, "What could go wrong, and how can we mitigate these risks?" By addressing potential issues ahead of time, they minimize disruptions.
8. Embracing Innovation:Forward-thinking leaders encourage innovation. They ask, "What fresh ideas or technologies can we incorporate to improve patient flow?" Whether using robotics for transport or implementing predictive analytics, they remain open to novel approaches.
Great healthcare leaders understand that ineffective patient movement can result in delays, frustration, and, in some cases, compromised care. By continually asking, "How can I help?" and empowering teams to explore inventive solutions, they foster an environment of improvement where the patient experience takes center stage. In doing so, they set the stage for enhanced patient movement and delivery of exceptional healthcare services.
Manuel, N (2023). Top 5 strategies to improve patient throughput. Retrieved from https://tigerconnect.com/blog/top-5-strategies-to-improve-patient-throughput/