How OSU Wexner Medical Center harnessed data analytics to enhance patient flow

Long wait times in the emergency department pose a serious barrier to care, especially among patients who end up leaving the hospital before they are finally called.

Observing this is what drove Mark Moseley, MD, an emergency room physician and vice chair of clinical affairs at The Ohio State University Department of Emergency Medicine, to lead the implementation of TeleTracking as an operational complement to the hospital's Epic EMR system.

TeleTracking is a technology solutions provider whose mission is to optimize health system operations by providing solutions and services that enable the highest quality of care delivery, optimize care coordination to enhance patient flow and ensure hospital operations are continually delivery optimal results.

Here are four things to know about OSU Wexner Medical Center's implementation of TeleTracking.

1. Dr. Mosely served as COO during the time of the implementation and then as the project's executive sponsor. He supported the idea after seeing how patient flow problems posed a significant barrier to patient care. "I went to medical school because I wanted to take care of patients," said Dr. Moseley, according to the Patient Flow Quarterly. "However, when I saw patients boarding in the ED — and how the back door to get the patients who were in the ED into the right beds in the hospital was broken — I became interested in patient flow and how that would open up the ED to the people who needed care. I knew there needed to be a technology piece if there was a belief in providing superior care."

2. By addressing inconsistencies in care that resulted in patient throughput issues, the hospital could ensure it didn't have to decline transfers because of a lack of beds and prevent people from walking out due to long ED wait times. "The goal is to make sure patients are in the right place for the right level of care, that a room is ready and that the process of patients moving through the system continues seamlessly. It's basically what good hotels do — and what has historically been a challenge for healthcare."

3. Driving a patient flow strategy to the next level requires collaboration between clinical teams and IT. While it is "human nature" to resist change, as Dr. Moseley put it, displaying evidence that complementary tools such as TeleTracking that work with the EMR system ultimately support clinicians' workflow, as well as produce better care opportunities for patients, will eventually win over apprehensive clinicians.

"We determined that Epic and TeleTracking are synergistic; we are able to use the best features of each system," he said. "And the bottom line is the patient doesn't care what we use. They just want to get through the system effectively. With TeleTracking, we're

able to make that happen with the data that is available to us. We can tackle the inefficiencies and effectively deploy our assets."

4. Six months after implementing TeleTracking, OSU Wexner Medical Center saw several improvements to its ED patient flow:

  • Discharges via patient transport increased from 0 percent to 54.9 percent
  • Discharges by 2 p.m. increased by 75 percent
  • Outside transfer hours from initial call to patient arrival decreased by 56 percent
  • Total ED diversion hours decreased by 42 percent
  • Number of patients who left without being seen decreased by 38 percent

To read about OSU Wexner Medical Center's experience with TeleTracking in more detail, click here.

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