As time has gone by and the demand for quality healthcare has been at an all-time high healthcare facilities have been faced with increased pressure on streamline operations to become the high-quality, low-cost provider, now is the time to focus on improving patient flow. Optimizing patient flow resembles the solution of a puzzle hospitals have to implement different strategies and processes and engage all team members in finding the best fit. Integrating all departments; When one department is lacking and not preforming to standards, the rest of the facility is impacted.
Initiating and creating a culture of accountability; it is essential that all clinical personnel take responsibility for both the success and mishaps that the facility may face. Leadership must communicate with staff as well as set and hold high standards. Committing to finding a positive solution and involving everyone in the process of a solution. Recognize the Importance of Hospital Medicine: “Flow optimization is about handoffs and processes. In an integrated system, the hospitalists are the team’s quarterbacks.
They communicate care needs, facilitate smooth transitions and make sure patients are connected with the right provider, at the right time and with the right resources.” (Mayer, 2017) Use Technology to Enhance Care: Information and communication systems can be implemented for much more than electronic record keeping. With undeniable advances in technology including computer speed, capacity and parallel advances in computer software, clinical documentation and communications systems can provide access to information almost immediately, including patient-based information. “When the system is integrated, departments communicate effectively, team members are constantly engaged and goals are clearly aligned, it creates more visibility and collaboration within the hospital.
As operations run more efficiently, patients and providers will have a more positive care experience, and the facility will see improvements in revenue.” (Mayer, 2017)
The layout of a facility is critical for optimal patient flow, I would locate the receptionist near the entrance and enable the receptionist to view the entire room. She would be able to help patients with any questions or address any issues that would create any latency. The counter would be designed for multi-use, it would allow patients to use the counter to fill out any paperwork necessary. Exam rooms should be within close proximity to the waiting area essentially eliminating unnecessary travel time. It should be critically considered how many exam rooms the facility can successfully handle at once, by the clinical staff within the facility. The patient traffic flow should move constantly; the patient should never have to go back to their previous location. The use of extra exam rooms to handle patients at high demand should be carefully considered. With the facility design in mind the amount of appointments scheduled should be taken in to consideration, avoiding over scheduling and overwhelming clinical staff.
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