Hospitals are beginning to feel the strain of the predicted (and actual) rising demand for services. If the average cost, once all is said and done, is about a million dollars per bed, how do hospitals get good returns on that investment? That may seem like a difficult question to answer due to rising costs of implementation and declining reimbursement rates. The solution is clearly to address patient flow.
While many hospitals are paying more attention to improving throughput, an honest look at the bottom line will probably inspire more comprehensive action. Here are three key benefits of improving patient throughput:
1. Best use of capital
Rather than constructing a new wing, free up the beds you already have. According to calculations by the California Healthcare Foundation, a 275-bed hospital that manages to reduce the average stay by just four hours will accomplish the “equivalent to increasing physical capacity by ten beds.” The best use of capital? 10 million dollars or...
2. Best return on capital
Increased demand aside, additional beds mean additional revenue. If the projected return per million dollar bed looks good, imagine the return on an existing bed that you’ve freed up by introducing a discharge lounge or more efficient patient and equipment tracking. Improving patient throughput may require time and money as systems are implemented, but certainly nothing close to expanding capacity through real estate.
3. Best performance from capital
According to advisory firm The Chartis Group, better patient flow leads to “reductions in patient wait times, ED diversions, and physician admission splitting.” That means hospitals don’t lose patients to other institutions, don’t lose time on diversions, and garner higher patient satisfaction ratings.
Whether an institution implements technology (new software, tracking systems), or simply streamlines communication and more efficient workflows, there’s no doubt that the process of streamlining and improving throughput is worthwhile… and worth money.