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October 31, 2011

Organize Your Patient Flow

With two-thirds of all U.S. hospitals looking for ways to improve the functionality and quality of their organizations, it is essential that hospital leadership address efficiency challenges and work to prioritize and systematically reduce weaknesses. 

Improving Patient Flow Organization
 Reorganization around employee productivity, case management, admissions and discharges can dramatically affect patient flow at your facility. 

Employee Productivity
 A significant factor in improving patient flow is ensuring that the workload-to-nursing staff ratio is appropriate, particularly relating to the extra time required for discharges and admits.  To avoid a backlog of discharges, assign staff to assist specifically with the admitting and discharging of patients based on the times and days when the backlogs are greatest and there is a greater potential to improve overall flow. 

Case Management/Bed Placement
 Having regular communication and updates from each department regarding current census, anticipated admissions, discharges, transfers, rooms waiting to be cleaned, pre-op and post-op patients, and any additional information that will help smooth the patient flow process will greatly improve bed management. 

Admissions & Discharges

Upon each patient's admission, develop pathways to discharge with prediction for length of stay (LOS) based on current known facts about the patient's condition.  Staff members need to have an awareness of where their patients are in the discharge process so that they can then provide input to medical staff and/or case managers in order to remove obstacles in the discharge planning process of each patient.

For more information, check out Organize Your Patient Flow on Executive Insight.

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