Hospital Management Strategies for Improving Emergency Department Workflows: Part 2 – The Solution
Katie Lynch | Chief Operating Officer
The risk is real. Failing to optimize your emergency department (ED) can cost more than the valuable time of your healthcare providers; it can also cost lives. As part of the hospital management team, you are responsible for caring for the health of your organization while your staff cares for patients.
Many healthcare organizations shy away from or put off transforming their hospital emergency department workflows due to the sheer magnitude of the project and the (understandable) fear of interrupting service. However, bringing in outside expertise allows your team to maintain their focus on patient care while improving your operation.
In fact, there are specific tools and strategies you can put in place to extract the most value from every case your ED handles.
Diagnosing the Situation
Start by identifying the most glaring issues your ED staff deals with on a regular basis. Just as your healthcare providers triage cases as they flow through the emergency department doors, so too do you and your team need to triage the steps of optimizing your ED workflows.
Any issues that are directly affecting patient care – such as those leading to hospital readmission, record errors, and other critical risk factors – should be at the top of the triage list as you begin planning your EHR overhaul.
Next, consider the four criteria of the Quadruple Aim. How is your ED performing with regard to:
- Enhancing patient experience
- Improving population health
- Reducing costs
- Providers performing to the tops of their licenses
Make a secondary list of where your ED is weakest and rank them in order of importance from the perspective of your hospital management team.
With the most pressing issues identified, you can begin to implement solutions.
Hospital Management Techniques to Improve ED Workflows
At John Lynch & Associates, we have helped numerous healthcare organizations implement strategic solutions to optimize the most hard-pressed division: the ED.
A particular service my team and I implement allows healthcare organizations to see how each and every process within the ED – and other departments, as needed – are performing in real time.
With our tool in place, we begin with a strategy called “Process Mapping.”
Process mapping allows us to pinpoint precisely where along the workflow processes a healthcare organization has potential for improvement. From the most minute EHR adjustment to large-scale restructuring, we are able to identify the best way to carry out each step of the process.
The next step, then, is implementing the change in order to maximize the patient journey, comprehensive service, and revenue cycles. Doing so allows us to improve access to and efficiency of care, reduce cost, and ease service provider burden.
For example, we are able to recognize when patient care is delayed due a physician waiting for lab results to come back. While this is often assumed to be a factor that healthcare providers and hospital management have no influence over, our evaluation often indicates areas that can be improved to reduce wait times, such as by optimizing connectivity between EHR tools.
Data-Driven Hospital Management
Gathering data analytics and filtering them through the right lens can also shed light on critical areas of improvement. Through a process of pulling intelligent analytics, we are able to evaluate statistics on, for instance:
- ED patient wait times by the day and the year
- ED patient readmissions by department (e.g., cardiac versus orthopedic surgery)
- Average arrivals per room
While these are only a few examples of the intelligent process analytics we are able to evaluate, they illustrate the multitude of ways your healthcare organization can make improvements to dramatically improve important statistics.
With the right information, your hospital management team is able to pull reports that identify the specific areas of your ED that can be improved, point out bottlenecks, and triage improvements in both digital and physical applications.
Such data-driven insights also make compliance easy by monitoring clinical operations in real time, while proactively alerting your staff when protocols are not followed or process misbehaviors are detected.
If you want more information on how to optimize your ED workflows to cut back on wait times, improve the quality of care, and support revenue, get in touch with us. We will help you maximize the value of the data you could be collecting in real-time.