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Improved Bed Management and Patient Flow

Managing capacity and improving patient flow is a top priority for most hospitals. Next to directly increasing available capacity, there are several other benefits from improved patient flow, such as:

  • shorter waiting times and length of stay
  • better patient experience
  • improved care and
  • lower costs.

Continuously forecasting bed & patient planning, and providing capacity to meet both the scheduled as well as unscheduled demand for that day, is a challenging task. One of the biggest hurdles for achieving efficient patient flow, is often the IT information silos between departments and lack of real-time process overview.

Within Surgery, the pre-operative Holding Area and Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) especially need to continuously focus on their internal patient throughput and manage incoming and outgoing patients. Often, only by the time the doors open and a patient arrives, information on this patient becomes available in the scheduling software. This then requires caregivers to quickly start exchanging names and other information causing a great deal of unrest, as well as inefficiencies. Patients are often just placed in the first available empty bed, leading to inefficient use of available beds, distributed equipment and staff capacity.

Solution #1 : Real-time dashboards

As a standard extension to ‘In-Room ORCockpits+‘, real-time dashboards can be deployed in the Holding and PACU departments where they indicate whether patients are present, bays are reserved for a patient or whether this bed bay is closed.

Result: anyone approaching the Holding or PACU area with a patient, always instantly sees on the dashboard which bed is scheduled for this patient, reducing miscommunications, delays and improving patient experience.

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NewCompliance Holding & PACU dashboards.

Solution #2 : Real-time Bed Assignment

In addition to the real-time area dashboards, ORCockpit+ can come equipped with the additional ‘Bed Assignment Planning’ module, so that the central desk or day manager can more effectively anticipate and manage the entire ordering and assignment of patients to beds, throughout the department. This frees up time for all caregivers to focus on their patients.

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NewCompliance Bed Assignment Planning module.

Benefits of working with improved Bed Management & Patient Flow

With the enhanced IT integration of ORCockpit+ finally delivering real-time capabilities, the entire OR team will benefit from the visualization of their care process. Every staff member will always see for both the pre-op as well as post-operative beds:

  • Which patients have been ordered and when;
  • Visibility to which Pre-Op / PACU bed a patient has been assigned to;
  • Direct alerts if any delays occur.

Visibility on free beds
Visible intelligence on bed planning and capacity for everyone across the department, helps to avoid making mistakes and much staff communication chaos. Free beds are now visible to all, driving higher utilization and less time spent on coordinating bed allocations. If there are empty beds, patients can be ordered immediately. When there are no beds, no patients are ordered, causing no unnecessary hold-ups down the line.

Optimal flow throughout the department
Important indicators like patient isolation or time delays will set off gentle and visible alerts, so that teams are continuously assisted with corrective action suggestions during each case. Both active caregivers, as well as the central desk, receive visual notification for timely adjustments. This ensures the desired continuous flow in your processes, instead of the old hurry up and wait phenomena.

Better distribution of care, resources and equipment
Much better distribution of care over the beds as well as associated workloads per nurse can be achieved when bed and patient allocation are automated, visible and efficient. Each nurse is now assigned a number of beds in a zone for which they are responsible. And with patients evenly distributed across all the nurses’ zones, staff have more clarity and peace of mind.

Patients with specific preferences and needs, such as children, very sick patients, elderly people, patients who need a local anesthetic etc., can be better matched with specialized equipment or location, ahead of time by the planner. Certain specialty equipment and/or materials can then more efficiently be made available to a few specialty beds, instead of travelling through the entire floor.

Patient flow data available in Analysis & Reporting Tool
Important indicators such as average patient waiting time in Pre-Op, or time spent in a PACU bed, will also be available in ORCockpit+‘s Analysis & Reporting Tool. Which means you can now easily analyze important metrics and measure the patient flow, and share reports on improvements with your staff. You can also set targets and measure against them. Or benchmark you department’s performance against local or national averages, to assess how well your department is doing. These are essential tools in the continuous process of improvement.

Feel free to connect with us and share your experiences or any questions you may have. We innovate our solutions based on your needs and experiences so we will always love to hear from you.