ADVERTORIAL: Using innovative technology solutions can help hospitals relieve the pressures of increased patient numbers during the winter months. With Hospedia’s third-generation patient flow solutions, hospitals can accurately identify blockages, respond to factors affecting discharge, and manage bed availability, all in real-time

A postbox in the snow

Patient flow management systems can be used to provide operational and frontline staff with the information they need to manage patient care safely and ensure efficient throughput of patients.

ExtraMed3 is an innovative, third-generation solution that provides staff across the organisation, from wards to the community and right up to the boardroom, with accurate, useful, real-time information about patient flow, blockages, bed availability and delayed discharges.

Prioritising improvement

Heading into winter 2013-14, and recognising the challenges faced by most acute trusts in the NHS, Derby Hospitals Foundation Trust made winter performance the hospital’s number one priority for the coming season.

‘Focusing on estimated discharge dates allows the staff to direct their attention to actions that have a quick and effective impact’

“We needed to move quickly, we needed something that worked, and we needed a company that was going to commit to deliver ‘our solution’ in a short timescale,” says Neil Radford, head of operations at Derby.

The trust identified that it would need a system that would provide accurate and useful operational insight – a real-time system. Delivering on the ‘hospital without walls’ concept, introduced in the Royal College of Physicians’ Future Hospital paper, required a solution that would help communication and coordination across the healthcare economy.

Finding the right solution

The trust chose to engage with Hospedia’s ExtraMed3 Patient Flow solution to deliver the system that met their needs. The system replaced standard ward whiteboards with integrated digital screens, where staff can update and share information about patient locations, needs, referrals and discharge status – fully integrated with the Lorenzo PAS.

‘It is easier to identify patients in acute beds who no longer require acute care’

Patients awaiting specific actions, such as medicine reconciliation, assessments or community outreach, are highlighted visually, making it extremely clear where discharges may be delayed. Focusing on estimated discharge dates allows the staff to direct their attention to actions that have a quick and effective impact.

Colour coding highlights patients nearing their EDD to allow staff to focus on the steps each patient needs to contribute to their discharge. This has helped the trust gain clarity on the issues affecting their patient flow.

It is easier to identify patients in acute beds who no longer require acute care, allowing the ‘pull team’ to focus on finding faster solutions to get those patients to where they need to be.

Integration and communication

At Derby, structured board rounds utilise the patient flow whiteboards to identify the upcoming discharges, to ensure arrangements are in place to facilitate timely discharge processes.

‘Average length of stay across the medical inpatient wards reduced through the winter following implementation of the ExtraMed solution’

By integrating the patient flow solution with community providers, through ‘virtual wards’, hospitals can not only identify patients who will need further care and support following their discharge, but also start making the necessary preparations directly with those community teams, reducing discharge delays.

Board rounds also plan for incoming patients, outliers and out of hours care, to maximise efficiency and highlight areas that need particular attention.

Powerful results

Average length of stay across the medical inpatient wards reduced through the winter following implementation of the ExtraMed solution, representing a change in trend not seen before. Furthermore, the trust saw a turnaround in the four hour A&E standard, achieving required performance levels in quarters two, three and four, as well as the year as a whole.

Investing in Hospedia’s ExtraMed solution has been validated by Deloitte to deliver financial benefits worth £4.5m per annum to an average hospital.

For more information, contact extramed@hospedia.com or visit www.hospedia.com to read the full case study