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March 8, 2023
Healthcare Organizations

Optimizing patient throughput is an essential component of facility operational management in the hospital setting. Overall success depends on the smooth cycling of patients in and out of the hospital. It ensures that patients have the necessary access to quality care while increasing a positive return for the hospital’s bottom line.

When obstacles like staff shortages or bed unavailability interrupt patient throughput, the entire operational performance of the hospital suffers. Patients often feel dissatisfied with long wait times, and providers can become frustrated by cumbersome processes, slowed diagnostics, and complicated lengths of stay for patients. For this reason, improving patient throughput should be an absolute institutional priority.

As a solution, locum tenens staffing is a viable strategy to help hospitals improve operating performance and optimize patient care in every corner of the hospital. Let us discuss some of the challenges to patient throughput and the ways locum tenens healthcare staffing companies can increase efficiency and improve patient access to care.


Hospital Bed Management and Optimized Patient Care

Because the number of hospital beds is typically a fixed resource, ideal bed management is key to increasing the number of patients treated.  During a crisis or unforeseen events, you as a leader should manage this resource in the best way you can.

Interestingly, a Chartis Group healthcare advisory study demonstrates that shortening the length of stay for patients by just 6 hours can dramatically increase bed availability to accommodate new patients.

The best choice your team can make to provide timely coordination of medical care is to streamline your communication and teamwork to ensure that patients can discharge when medically ready. This will maximize your hospital bed turnover.

For instance, if admitted patients are experiencing extended wait times for a cardiac consult or are delayed in their ability to undergo diagnostic testing, length of stay undoubtedly increases, and hospital beds stay full.

This negative cycle hinders your team’s ability to maintain efficient patient throughput. When patients who could be discharged to home, or transferred to a rehab facility, are in the inpatient unit for extended periods, these seemingly small changes limit new patients from being admitted.

In situations like these, consider the impact of adding locum tenens providers to the clinical care team. By increasing the availability of services, patients are seen more quickly, and the overall process management improves.


Process Improvement to Target Inpatient Throughput


For example, following the patient from pre-admission intake, the quality of all processes impacts the flow of patient throughput. Efficiency at each step is critical from admission to the emergency room, to the physician/specialist consults, diagnostic testing, case management services to discharge planning. A breakdown in any action along the patient experience can significantly slow efficiency and create problems.

For hospitals to function at their highest levels of patient care and efficiency, organized, structured systems must be in place that specifically target the challenges to patient throughput.The process does not start once the patient is in the hospital bed because there are multiple phases, departments, and systems involved in the coordination of inpatient care.

By examining each step of the process and evaluating the need for additional providers, administrators can drastically improve the patient throughput for the hospital. If shortages exist in one specific area, locum tenens providers can address and support that clinical phase of the inpatient and outpatient processes. For example, if your emergency room is understaffed, long triage wait times will impact patient admissions and slow processes for the rest of the providers down the line.Accordingly, if a team does not have enough radiologists to report on imaging, patients will be waiting for appropriate follow-up diagnostics.

Developing a comprehensive process improvement plan and adding locum tenens service providers to distinct areas of need allows patients to be treated more quickly each step of the way. When each department is functioning at its best, the entire quality of patient care improves.

Adding Locum Tenens Staff to Facilitate Patient Throughput

Ultimately, well-functioning patient care teams can achieve less together than when providers and patients feel unsupported, overworked, and under appreciated. To fix this, providers can:

●     accommodate new admissions

●     increase revenue

●     help the hospital operate at its highest functional capacity

Utilizing locum tenens staff and coordinating care will:

●     improve bed turnaround time

●     increase overall efficiency.

●     ensure that urgent admissions will have shorter wait times

●     enhance the inpatient experience with faster diagnostics, treatments, and discharges

●     improve staff morale because efficiency will provide quicker outcomes for more patients.

These are some of the many ways that adding locum tenens staff to the operational hospital team can improve organizational performance and optimize patient care.

The Benefits of Improving Patient Throughput

The top benefit of improving patient throughput is that patients receive the care they need when they need it. High-quality healthcare helps prevent diseases and improve lives, so fine-tuning the hospital’s performance can make an enormous difference to your community of patients. From a management perspective, administrators see more efficient capital expenditures and increases in financial and clinical operating performance.

When hospitals have smooth patient throughput systems and can quickly accommodate new admissions, revenue significantly increases, supporting necessary incentives like program development, research, and expansion. Data reported by senior healthcare consultants show that just30 additional effective beds can generate an extra net income of over $14million per year for a hospital.

Locum tenens providers are highly skilled clinicians ready to provide timely patient care. No matter which phase of the hospital inpatient throughput system requires attention, locum tenens offer solutions. General physicians, specialists, and other health care professionals are available for temporary assignments to provide immediate relief and improve the performance of all operating systems.

Patient throughput improves when a healthcare organization evaluates its needs and bolsters the current systems. Ultimately, patients reap the rewards, and robust organizational growth continues.

Learn more today. Contact Health Carousel Locum Tenens and find your partner to help improve patient throughput.