After serving in an internal executive consulting role for a large healthcare system, I recently made the transition to independent consulting. As a consultant, I now work with several healthcare organizations. One is a large organization that wants to redirect the focus of its process improvement team toward supporting inpatient patient-access strategies across the organization.
The organizations I've worked with struggled with bed capacity and needed to improve their patient discharge processes. Often, organizations focus on developing contingency plans to improve flow in the ER, to develop processes to speed up the patient admission process or to create discharge lounges. While some of these efforts may make a momentary positive impact, they don’t offer a long-term solution that effectively coordinates patient care from admission to discharge. For example, discharge lounges are simply another place to move the problem downstream, which ultimately creates more costs (i.e., space, equipment, supplies and staffing requirements).
To combat patient access and throughput challenges, many installing software and disruptive innovations to track patient flow and make patient discharges more predictable and timely. They are using real-time location systems and are increasing patient flow transparency to all care partners. Several organizations are using this technology to help healthcare organizations develop Patient Logistics Command Centers or Admission and Transfer Centers. These centers serve as a kind of “air traffic control” for hospitals. However, instead of plane departures and arrivals, they are coordinating patient admissions and discharges. Something that is proving to be a highly valuable and highly sought after trend in healthcare.
Is your organization implementing a patient logistics command center?