Patient flow in healthcare settings is an essential element of providing high-quality care to all patients. It involves the physical journey of a patient from the time they arrive in the emergency department to the point of discharge and is integral to the overall patient experience. Poor patient flow can lead to overcrowding of emergency departments, patients being admitted to wards not suited to their care, and delays in surgical procedures. These scenarios can result in an adverse patient experience and added stress and pressure on staff.
To ensure efficient patient flow, healthcare providers must have a system to effectively manage patients’ journeys throughout the stages of care, including treatment, tests, surgery, recovery, and discharge planning. To do this, some hospitals have Patient Flow Coordinators, Patient Flow Managers, or Bed Managers dedicated to the task.
The traditional way of managing patient flow includes walking around wards multiple times daily and convening with other teams to discuss demand, planned discharges, and bed availability. This method is time-consuming and inefficient. Thankfully, advancements in digital care coordination can help improve patient flow management’s accuracy and efficiency. Such solutions unblock tasks that cause delays and allow teams to prioritise patients.
Digital care coordination can offer healthcare providers the tools to manage patient flow more efficiently and effectively, leading to better patient and staff outcomes.
Healthcare professionals today can collaborate more effectively and efficiently by leveraging digital tools such as Alertive to facilitate real-time information sharing. This enhanced access to data supports improved coordination and prioritisation, enabling better decision-making and patient flow.
Thanks to platforms like Alertive, the transfer of patients is expedited, as clinical and operational staff are granted access to real-time updates. This helps to quickly identify any delays or blockages in the system, allowing ward and site managers to respond immediately and maintain optimal patient flow.
Using a care coordination tool also enables medically fit patients to be discharged sooner. Clinical staff have visibility into the status of a patient and the treatments necessary before they can be discharged, allowing them to prioritise specific tasks or be notified when a prescription is needed before the patient can be discharged. This ensures better patient flow back into the community, helping healthcare systems cope with external pressures.
In today’s healthcare climate, patient flow is more important than ever. To help hospitals and community organisations manage their patients efficiently and safely, staff need the right tools and resources to stay organised. With the right technology in place, staff will be able to plan discharges ahead of time, have a real-time view of available beds, and pinpoint any potential problems or delays.
Patient flow optimisation also brings significant benefits to patients. When hospitals and community organisations can manage patient flow, it results in a smoother and more connected healthcare experience. Patients can get the care they need more quickly and efficiently, improving overall outcomes.