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February/March 2011
News For You

Patient Flow: A Continued Focus

Northwest Community Hospital’s Care Improvement and Patient Outcomes (CIPO) committee continues to recommend and monitor strategies aimed at improving patient flow and reducing length of stay.

New ADT Role
In early March, two units will introduce the new admission-discharge-transfer (ADT) nurse role, which represents a broader scope of responsibilities for admission nurses. The ADT nurses will be responsible for expediting discharges from the patient care units, and working to facilitate smooth and timely discharges to home or extended care facilities. The ADT nurses will also be charged with educating the patient and family so they understand their roles in the healing and recovery process. In addition, the ADT nurses will work very closely with patients scheduled for discharge by 2 pm.

Bed Board Implementation
Kathy Ferket, RN, MSN, APN, executive director, Patient Care Services, says efforts to improve patient flow will accelerate in April, when the Hospital implements a new “Bed Board” system (Horizon Enterprise Visibility). This hospital-wide electronic tracking tool will help to improve patient placement, expedite housekeeping and other environmental services duties, and track patient status, including acuity.

“With the Bed Board accessible to all patient care units and departments, we expect that communication will greatly improve,” Ferket says. “Among the benefits of this new tool is the reduction in the amount of paper used for patient admissions and discharges. We also expect to decrease the number of phone calls and faxes.”

Ferket adds that the Bed Board will expedite the admitting process for patients in the Emergency Room. “We recently set a goal of 30 minutes to transfer a patient from the ED to an inpatient bed,” she explains, “and we’re already seeing some improvements in patient satisfaction due to the reduction in ED wait times for a bed.” Ferket expects that this will improve even more with the implementation of the Bed Board.

Incentive for Staff
Ferket notes that the bed huddle team is now awarding weekly trophies, as an incentive, to the two inpatient units with the most correctly predicted discharges and the fastest time to assign a bed. “The units are very engaged in this effort,” she says. “Our staff clearly recognizes the importance of patient flow and their role in helping us improve it.”

For more information on patient flow efforts, please contact Kathy Ferket at 847.618.7943, or Jean Altizer, at 847.618.7932.

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Last Updated 04/10/2009