Improving Quality of Care with Patient Flow

How to Improve Care Quality with Cambio Patient Flow Manager (PFM)

Article first published on Cambio’s LinkedIn site on the 10th May

Due to increasing wait times, delays and cancellations, many patients now assume that waiting for treatment is an inevitable aspect of the care process.

As public health prepares for post-pandemic recovery, health institutions now face the challenge of ensuring service is as patient-centric as possible.

In the short term, some hospitals have increased throughput by adding resources, such as bed space, more staff and infrastructures. However, with the extant burden of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Trusts have found that these resources could not cater to the rising demands of an expanding patient population. To provide better service, hospitals need to look at key performance indicators that determine the quality of care. Given the current healthcare climate, the most apparent way that health institutions can improve their care offering is by digitally optimising patient flow.

Optimising patient flow allows clinicians and hospital staff to assess existing services at a granular level. Specifically, it gives health executives a more intimate view of the operational challenges that their institutions face; and how these barriers manifest service quality from a patient’s point of view. Patient flow management tools, like Cambio PFM, can visibly improve performance delivery, patient outcomes and quality of care. By integrating critical services and insights, Cambio PFM simultaneously reduces strain on resources, cost and treatment blockers for patients.

Foremostly, Cambio PFM allows health staff to view the entire health journey from a patient’s perspective. By allowing Trusts to sustain focus on flow and the patient experience, Cambio PFM offers an integrated solution for improving care quality.

A snapshot of the current context

The patient journey, as well as the quality of care, is determined by the smooth operation of clinical and administrative tasks. Depending on the individual case, each patient journey can involve hundreds of specific tasks at different times and places within a hospital setting.

Due to the pandemic, several of these processes were obstructed due to the lack of supportive infrastructures, staff and bed space. In response to these barriers, some health institutions attempted to relieve pressure by building on existing resources. However, recent studies now show that this is not a sustainable solution for improving wait times. Evidence now stipulates that added costs for services, construction and maintaining staff allowed unseen inefficiencies to increase across entire hospital systems. Consequently, service bottlenecks arose from the ill-managed patient flow, poor scheduling processes and resource distribution; which put excessive pressure on patients waiting to undergo both acute and elective treatments.

Furthermore, the general lack of processes to efficiently admit and discharge patients has detrimentally disrupted capacity and demand management. Under a limited healthcare budget, increasing demand for services in the UK has put hospitals under immense strain. Severe capacity restraints, including bed and staff shortage, have palpably reduced care activity among several NHS Trusts. These restraints reflected a historic mismatched variation between demand and capacity.

The ongoing low yield and poor management of resources suggest that ineffective capacity planning remains a problem for many health institutions.  Upon assessment, it is clear that the current increase of delays is not a ‘resource problem’; it is, in fact, a ‘patient flow problem’. The previous absence of tools that optimise patient flow now visibly prevent healthcare organisations from using resources and processing patient discharge efficiently across time. As a result, many hospitals and Trusts now struggle to operate effectively and meet quality care standards for their patients.

Going digital means improved care

A clear solution to improving care for those seeking health treatments lies in digitally optimising patient flow.

When admission rates are high in relation to available resources, health organisations must reorganise patient flow logistics around patient care needs: using the expected length of stay, staff assistance and flow of tasks as proxies. Tools like Cambio PFM can help health institutions to manage these proxies and improve operative performance. By offering real-time data visibility, Cambio PFM allows hospitals to implement necessary system changes and support patient flow management.

Specifically, digital platforms like Cambio PFM can assess ways to improve inherent system designs reliably. Through its provision of heightened data insights and flow projection, Cambio PFM can identify medical or operational outliers, and streamline the entire patient journey. Due to its capacity for gathering real-time patient data, Cambio PFM can synchronously identify unnecessary tasks or ‘waste’ from the care process and improve the quality of each task needed. By eliminating non-value tasks, Cambio PFM reduces the cost and time for tasks, allowing for healthcare staff to economically distribute their time among patients who need care the most.

Cambio PFM: Putting Patient Care First

For the foreseeable future, bed and care availability will remain the operational focus for the NHS.

Going forward, new systems that focus on staff capability building and resource management, like Cambio PFM, will ultimately pave the way towards reduced wait times, delays and improved care delivery.

To ensure that health institutions realise this focus, Cambio PFM assists Trusts in digitally enhancing their care processes. By leaning on real-time data and aggregated learning, Cambio PFM synchronises admissions and discharges, as well as projects bed occupancy variations over time. In tracking the patient journey from start to finish, Cambio PFM reduces wasted time during inpatient stays and therefore ensures that patients experience care of the highest quality.

Get in touch with the Cambio Healthcare Systems UK team today, to help your teams gain greater insights throughout the entire patient journey.