The Unsung Heroes Of The Health Sector
With increasing life spans and demands of patients, the health sector is under strain. Small hospitals, in particular, feel the brunt of the burden. With limited resources, many small hospitals are unable to keep up and are closing fast. There has been a decrease in the number of small and rural hospitals over the last 15 years. These crucial institutions now need to be both resourceful and strategic for continued success. The best way to do that? By capitalizing on throughput and length of stay.
It’s all about the flow.
Think of the hospital as a pipeline that patients flow through. Throughput and length of stay are two measurements that guide the flow. Throughput measures total patient journey, from admission, treatment, and discharge. From an individual level, throughput measures hospital efficiency and effectiveness. From a 50,000-foot view, throughput helps determine the actual capacity of the hospital and productivity. Length of stay covers how long a single patient hospitalization takes, usually measured in days. Both metrics work hand in hand. Like any pipeline, a bottleneck will slow down overall performance. The problem is both private and public hospitals have limited beds, equipment, and staff to manage patient flow. So hospitals must look for innovative ways to improve these metrics while meeting patient and state standards.
Speeding things up with telemedicine
Small hospitals deal with reduced resources. Most small hospitals are in rural areas that have few doctors, nurses, or skilled support staff. These small hospitals also compete with larger hospitals that can pay higher salaries. Resource shortages are the biggest hurdle in fixing throughput. Telemedicine is the ability to use technology to support the hospital. Doctors can lend assistance to consult and diagnose patients using video, email, or chat services. Small hospitals can increase or decrease telemedicine according to peak hours. Telemedicine improves everything from patient satisfaction, throughput, resources, and even length of stay.
Building efficiency with remote case management
Telemedicine is not the only remote solution that can help small hospitals. Small hospitals can also benefit from remote case management. Case management is the competent guidance of a patient from entering the ED to discharge. A case manager reviews each new patient. Using triage, the case manager can allocate resources effectively. Insufficient case managers slow throughput, creating dissatisfied patients who leave without being seen. Remote case management increases the number of case managers through video technology. Patients can be attended to 24/7 and sent to the right channels.
Hospitalists are the ace in the hole.
Some patients expect a primary care doctor when admitted to the hospital. This can slow down care if the hospital has to wait for the family physician. For this reason, adding a hospitalist to the small hospital is a useful time-saving strategy. Hospitalists are doctors who manage patients’ cases at the hospital. The hospitalist is a subject matter expert that sits between the case manager and other doctors. Hospitalists can manage conversations between other doctors, nurses, patients, and even family. Hospitalists can also order tests, take quick action, and speed up the length of stay. Despite the large workload, hospitalists significantly improve efficiency.
Improve these key metrics today
A small hospital’s ability to manage throughput and length of stay can improve success. Using remote solutions like telemedicine and case management makes happy patients. Adding in extra help with hospitalists can improve communication, care, and reduce the length of stay. Hospital owners and managers should get remote solutions involved in hospital operations today.