15 Jun

In healthcare, efficiency is a desirable trait and a critical necessity. Healthcare leaders constantly face the challenge of optimizing processes to provide quality care while minimizing waste. This article will delve into a few real-life examples and reveal the secrets to eliminating waste in healthcare processes. Healthcare leaders can unlock hidden efficiency and drive positive organizational change by understanding strategies. In this post, I will focus solely on patient flow within the walls of a hospital organization.

Streamlining Patient Admission and Discharge Processes (PATIENT FLOW): One common area where waste can accumulate is during the patient admission and discharge processes. By implementing digital registration systems, automating documentation, and using real-time bed management tools, healthcare organizations can reduce waiting times, eliminate duplicate paperwork, and improve patient flow.

     Removing patient throughput processes requires deep knowledge and understanding of all the touchpoints the patients must experience. Waste sticks out like lime-green shorts at a plaid party. My team removes tasks that result in unnecessary minutes. Breaking down a concept such as who brings the patient to CT must be more than 1 or 2 steps. In fact, the simple act of getting the patient to a study during an ED workout can be broken down into 15 or more steps. I recommend you role-play it, go through the motions, and decide where to eliminate some steps. You can cut down patient times into bite-size chunks versus taking on the total throughput metric. Take your time and avoid the overwhelming pressure the board has on you to fix patient throughput times.    

 Figuring out what steps to remove in a process requires getting "down in the trenches" with other disciplines and department leaders. You must ask tough questions, share reality factors, and determine if a solution will work or worsen the situation. Be present and interact in person. Build relationships so that you can continue working on problems versus snickering at insufficient data. 

 I create and use  patient throughput maps. These maps take time, but once you understand them, you can easily alter them to real-time solutions and share them with your teams. It feels fantastic to see times reduced by 10, 20, or even 30 minutes after tweaking a few areas, like who orders transport or gives the all-clear to leave one hospital area and go to another location.     

The concept behind the Logistics Cente includes a detailed understanding of what happens when a patient enters the hospital until they leave. Couple movement with demand; you have the perfect recipe to determine staff. When we solved this problem, we knew we could continue tweaking as real-time changes and processes happened. You will improve patient flow when you remove the emotions associated and make your objective about the patient getting from the least safe place to a safer location until they can go home. Lead your staff to keep this at the center of their daily operational objective and help others understand the concept. In general,  patient flow will improve, and you will please the demands set by the board. The goal is to get the recipe right! If you are heavy staff, you call people off to be burdened with high volumes later. Now you need to be more staffed after sending five staff home the day before. How on earth do you get it right? The solution is a process that includes staff projections based on predictable volume trends and community awareness points. 

"I worked at a hospital in Vermont. We had a significant problem. Patients needed to get out of the ED quickly and to the medical beds so the limited ED staff could focus on the subsequent patients that arrived. We avoided making the process of patient movement a siloed task. My objective was to first improve the relationships between the ED and the medical units. Relationships allow for collaboration, communication, and teamwork for the exact cause. I was thrilled as I presented our patient throughput times at a staffing conference 2015. Why a staffing conference, you ask? The answer is rather simple. When you improve patient flow and reduce process waste, staff can focus on patient care, and staffing demands go down. We fixed two problems with one solution methodology." 

Message me if your organization needs help with patient throughput and staffing solutions. I am happy to share some specifics as I understand your unique issues. 

Conclusion: By embracing the secrets to eliminating waste in healthcare processes, healthcare leaders can unlock hidden efficiency, enhance patient care, and optimize resource utilization. Real-life examples demonstrate the transformative power of these strategies, inspiring leaders to take action and drive change within their organizations. By streamlining admission and discharge processes, optimizing supply chain management, error-proofing techniques, improving communication and collaboration, and leveraging data analytics, healthcare organizations can embark on a journey towards efficient, patient-centered care delivery while minimizing waste at every step.

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