Delivering exceptional healthcare relies on seamless patient flow. Yet, more than 65% of patients experience a delay while waiting for a medical service.

While the need to improve patient flow is clear, many leaders are unsure how to tackle such a broad issue with an abundance of options and contributing factors. Here, we break down four opportunities to help you move in the right direction.

Set Measurable Patient Flow Goals

At the core of the Joint Commission’s “patient flow standard” lies a crucial objective: limiting boarding time to a maximum of four hours, from the ED to their admission or transfer. Recent findings from the Emergency Medicine Journal underscore the gravity of surpassing this timeframe, with patients encountering delays exceeding five hours from ED to hospital admission facing a heightened risk of mortality within 30 days.

To manage patient flow effectively, facilities should establish and measure goals based on several factors, including:

  • Availability of patient beds
  • Throughput of care areas
  • Safety of care areas
  • Efficiency of non-clinical services
  • Access to support services

By aligning goals with patient acuity, healthcare environments can optimize patient flow and ensure timely access to care — especially during emergencies.

Cultivate a Culture of Accountability

The culture of any hospital significantly impacts care quality and reputation. Patients will quickly pick up on the staff dynamic, then form opinions on the level of care they expect to receive. Studies have shown a positive correlation between a strong staff culture and improved clinical outcomes, demonstrating the importance of investing in strategies that support high performance and align with the facility’s values and mission.

By doing so, healthcare organizations can create a culture where staff members thoroughly comprehend and uphold best practices, as well as genuinely enjoy their career and coworkers. This culture of excellence plays a vital role in minimizing disruptions, optimizing patient flow and improving retention. If caregivers feel satisfied and well-informed, their patients will too.

Explore New Staffing Models

Effective staffing plays a pivotal role in managing patient flow. Rather than static staffing models, it’s essential to embrace dynamic strategies that match capacity with demand in real time.

Analyzing historical data on emergency department admissions enables healthcare organizations to make informed adjustments and meet patient needs. This understanding of capacity constraints and demand patterns enables facilities to efficiently allocate resources and ensure they are well-prepared to meet the needs of patients.

Harmonize Technology and Patient Care for Optimal Safety

Streamlining patient flow to enhance patient care and safety is paramount, and integrated nurse call technology is key for achieving these goals. That’s where West-Com’s Connect Nurse Call comes in. This system seamlessly keeps your patient in motion by eliminating delays in the patient-care cycle and providing invaluable insights into patient, room and care team statuses.

Connect Nurse Call offers a comprehensive range of features designed to optimize patient flow:

  • Workflow Stations: Streamlines the triage of appropriate staff for nursing tasks, reminders, contact with transport or lifting teams and cleaning services to reduce turnaround times for improved staff efficiency and patient flow.
  • Virtual Care: Enhances engagement and safety in intra- and inter-hospital transfers through inclusive and congruent communication.
  • Real-Time Status Updates: Provides caregivers with essential patient and unit information to support timely decision-making.
  • Multidisciplinary Rounding: Allows for flexible scheduling of multidisciplinary rounding sessions involving multiple caregivers.
  • Visual Call Confirmation: Helps patients and families connect names with faces, fostering familiarity and trust through visual confirmation during calls.
  • Accurate Staffing: Ensures staffing and room assignment details are always accurate and up to date with analytics and reporting that enable leaders to delve into patient history and caregiver actions over time.
  • Automated Requests Assigns incoming requests to the appropriate caregivers automatically to reduce response times and streamline communication.
  • Quiet Mode: Enhances the patient environment by activating “Quiet Mode,” to improve HCAHPS scores.
  • Customizable Call Escalation: Adapts to changing care demands with customizable call escalation protocols.

Explore our full suite of nurse call, telehealth and integrated communication solutions to amplify caregiver synergy and enhance patient outcomes.