From admittance to discharge – Tracking a patient through the surgery process

Surgeon with facemask

From admittance to discharge – Tracking a patient through the surgery process

Patient Throughput Management

A patient going in for surgery doesn’t spend their entire stay receiving surgery. There’s time spent in pre-op, post-op, transfer and most prominently – there’s time spent waiting. However, most hospitals only have a general idea of how their patient flow looks like and there’s very few ways of knowing where time is actually spent. What if there was a way of gathering correct data of how, when and where hospital procedures are carried out and for how long? This would give hospitals a clear overview on when time is wasted so improvements could be made. It would also show whether inefficient procedures are causing harm to patients.

With our Patient Throughput Management solution, tracking patients and time spent inside the hospital becomes a reality. Which can save money, resources and contribute to better patient care. Let us show what a patient’s journey from admittance to discharge would look like:

Step 1: Admittance

When patients are admitted to the hospital, staff attaches a small tag around the patient’s wrist. These patient tags use Bluetooth technology which communicates with locators installed in the ceiling throughout the hospital. This allows staff to monitor where a patient is in the surgery process and how long each step takes. All this data is automatically stored to be analyzed later on.

The patient tag is smaller than a watch and weighs very little. Staff use a software device to activate the tag and attach patient-specific information such as; time of admittance, age, gender, the reason for the visit and other valuable information.

Step 2: Transfer

In a large hospital, patients will need to be transferred long distances between departments, operating rooms and their patient room. Having an overview of how the transfer time is distributed can make for more efficient planning and execution of a patient’s hospital stay. Perhaps specific elevators need to be blocked off only for patient use or certain examinations or procedures need to be done simultaneously. Streamlining the day-to-day activities inside a hospital can save a tremendous amount of time, energy and staff resources.

Step 3: Waiting area and pre-op

Most often, patients spend a long time in the waiting area for treatment or surgery. This can happen due to patients being fetched from their rooms before the operating room is ready or because another emergency occurred. The waiting time for patients can be very stressful, they’re fasting before surgery and the patient might be in pain and feel frightened. In addition, the waiting rooms often have a low temperature. For hospital staff in movement, the temperature isn’t noticeable but for a patient lying down for a longer period, it can get cold.

Tracking patients and analyzing the data allows for staff to know exactly when patients should be moved. Minimizing waiting time not only saves resources but it enhances the patient’s psychological well-being.

Step 4: The surgery room

As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, patients can spend 63% of their hospitalization inside the surgery room whilst the actual surgery only actually takes 29% of the time. With an accurate tracking system, long waiting times and operating rooms being unutilized can be highlighted. Knowing where bottlenecks occur is the first step in minimizing them.

The Patient Throughput Management solution also allows tracking for specific operating rooms and specific departments. If a patient would be taken to the wrong operating room, the hardware sends out a signal. In addition, perhaps a lesser number of operating rooms is sufficient for one department whilst another department has a higher demand. Having concrete data leads to optimizing the resources available to give more patients better care.

It is also possible to track specific doctors inside the surgery room. This could highlight exactly how long specific surgeries take, which specialization of the doctor is most appropriate to perform a specific surgery and provide valuable information if more training is needed.

Step 5: Post-op and discharge

Sometimes, surgeries finish earlier, and the patient is kept inside the operating room until there is room in post-op. This blocks the operating room for other patients. If an accurate tracking system is in place, staff in post-op could be more prepared for surgeries finishing earlier than expected.

After surgery, it’s useful to track how many days a patient on average stays for surveillance. This helps plan the hospital’s capacity in more detail. The information assigned to the patient’s RFID-tag helps staff keep track of the average length of stay.

Providing better care with the Patient Throughput Management solution

A proper tracking solution is key to identifying bottlenecks, time waste and procedures that aren’t as efficient as they could be. Caring for people in need is a very important task, and within a large hospital, it’s an enormous operation to run. For the process to be as efficient, smooth and error-free as possible, detailed planning is necessary. Having an overview consisting of correct data allows for accurate analysis, conclusions and improvements to be made. This results not only in saving money and resources, but most importantly; it results in more patients receiving better care and staff having more time and energy.

Do you have any questions about the Patient Throughput Management solution or want to learn more?  Please contact us here. Together, we’ll make the healthcare industry better.

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