Project Management and Process Improvement
Patient flow is one of the major challenges every healthcare facility experiences in terms of obtaining proper records of the patients, managing the patient movement between staffs, departments, and discharge, keeping the records for future references as well as retrieving the data. It becomes more chaotic during the outbreak situations when the high number of patients become unmanageable and others may end up leaving the facility without notice and proper records (Gula & Karwan, 2017). To help manage the pressure from a high number of patients, there are a number of patient flow management tools that have been developed and adopted by healthcare facilities.
The two process improvement tools I would use are a real-time locating system (RTLS)-based tracking for patients, staff, and equipment and optimizing Patient placement through an intelligent transfer tracking system. This is because they provide a comprehensive integrated tracking system among all the departments of the healthcare facility and to provide a reliable system to intelligently track movements of the patients between various facilities respectively (Drazen & Rhoads, 2011).
The RTLS tracking system uses IR-RFID badges to caregivers and patients to monitor their movements within the facility departments and records the data for real-time communication between computers. The benefits include; locating and relaying information about patient’s and room status, where the caregiver should go next, and where there are bottlenecks that cause delays. It reduces the time spent in the facility, automatic communication, providing historical analytics, automated data, and the critical information of the real-time workflow for making staffing adjustments by team leaders (Drazen & Rhoads, 2011). Optimizing patient placement through intelligent transfer tracking is a system that enables tracking and keeping automated and updated data about the transfer of patients to other healthcare facilities. It routes the patients intelligently and provides real-time patient information among the staffs to improve operational efficiency. The system can be integrated with EMR and ADT to enable a direct flow of information to and from various hospital’s bed management and patient registration systems (Drazen & Rhoads, 2011).
The two systems are quite beneficial in enhancing efficiency for effective patient flow management. However, the main limitation of the two tools is the security of the patient information and privacy since there is a lot of exposure to the patient information.
1. Drazen, E., & Rhoads, J. (2011). Using Tracking Tools to Improve Patient Flow in Hospitals, Issue Brief. California HealthCare Foundation, 4(1).
2. Gula, P. W., & Karwan, K. (2017). Increased Burdens of Emergency Departments-Organizational Challenges. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 32(S1), S34-S34.