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Southwest General Health Center

Southwest General Health Center accelerates patient journeys with capacity management solutions

The days of using paper to track a patient’s journey through the hospital are over at Cerner ITWorksSM client Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights, Ohio.

With CareAware Patient Flow® andCareAware Tracking™, hospital staff members are working more efficiently and saving time for both themselves and their patients.

“It’s all about the right care, the right time, the right place,” said Lori Cihon, director of nursing, inpatient services. “We’re getting the patients in the right place sooner so their care can start faster.”

Before implementation, “nurses were carrying pens and papers and books and writing everything down,” Cihon said. That changed in 2013 when the 350-bed hospital added new solutions and technology including placing electronic tags on medical devices to track equipment so staff members no longer had to search for IV pumps and other machines.

Faster bed assignments, throughput

Switching to a more automated environment and evaluating workflows helped save time for everyone.

For example, the average length of time from when a doctor admitted a patient to the time staff assigned a bed dropped to an average of 44 minutes in 2016, down from 81 minutes in 2014. Reducing those wait times for patients helps make their hospital experience more pleasant.

Similarly, with the new technology, the number of patients who waited more than two hours to get from the emergency department waiting room to an examination room dropped almost in half — from 6,150 patients in 2014 to 3,256 patients in 2016.

Implementing automated processes helped staff track metrics and pinpoint the best ways to streamline operations.

“Before, we didn’t have that black-and-white data that could tell you where your problem was,” said Matt Rini, manager for patient transport. “Everything is black and white now. It shows so many different steps in the process. You can really break it down and see where we were held up.”

That data helped staff evaluate workflows at every avenue. In some workflows, the hospital eliminated steps to make operations more efficient. Current efforts include trying to identify two patients who meet the criteria to be discharged by noon each day, in an effort to improve throughput.

Rooms cleaned quicker

Environmental services learned how to use automated services to accelerate room cleanup.

“We used to adjust bed boards based on when a bed was declared ‘dirty,’” said Joe Ferrier, director of environmental services and patient transport. Now, Cerner’s bed management automatically notifies the hospital’s environmental services team when it is time to clean a room, instead of waiting for someone to verbally alert staff.

Next steps

Looking forward, Southwest General plans to keep working with Cerner’s CareAware solutions to continue enhancing throughput.

“We’re always analyzing the data,” Rini said. “We look at every department in terms of efficiency. It’s a constant fine-tuning, and we’re trying to get better every single day.”

Learn more about CareAware Capacity Management

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Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.