Implementing Efficient Order Coordination for Hospitals

Hospitals have to manage orders and services that patients receive, but in most hospitals that is not done efficiently for every patient and every order. In most hospitals the service areas have only a siloed view of their own orders for service and limited to no knowledge of the patient’s progression plans and service schedules. Scheduling in a silo with limited information leads to inefficient scheduling and execution of patient services.

Current Order Management

radiology-pic-1In a typical hospital, the radiology coordinator arrives in the morning to a pile of paper requisitions in the department. They work to triage and prioritize without having much information on the patients, including if the patients are potential discharges, if the patients are prepped and ready to travel to the department for testing, and if the patients are having other testing or ancillary services throughout the day. The coordinator will add the patients manually to a list or white board to schedule, or will not schedule and will give the requisitions to department directly.

For each patient the service department has to notify the nursing unit when the patient may be brought down for testing, any preps that need to be completed on the nursing unit, and request transport for the patient. They also may have to coordinate transport to or from any other departments the patient may need to visit.

This is typically completed individually by each department, for each order prior to patient testing. Once the patient arrives, the technologist can provide the service for the patient.

Order Management Inefficiencies

There are a lot of inefficiencies in the process today, based on limited tools and visibility that the service departments and nursing units have. These inefficiencies include:

  • Multiple phone calls between service areas and nursing to schedule and coordinate services
  • Delays in testing due to patient preparedness
  • Less time spent with patients, and more time spent on logistics (requesting transport, transporting patients, making phone calls to coordinate patient transport or patient preps)
  • Siloed order coordination, resulting in patients making multiple trips to service areas, delays in testing
  • Deferred orders that are unable to be completed today because of resource availability

A Better Way to Manage Orders

Our hospitals have improved staff and patient satisfaction and reliability in operations by adopting a new model and supporting technology. It comprises central hub-based service coordination along with software to prioritize and queue orders based on advancing the care plans and discharge targets for all patients across the hospital. Here’s a previous post that explores the patient-focused principles behind this approach, and the comforting visibility it provides patients, families and caregivers into the patient’s daily itinerary.

Post by Kelly Weakley, a Transformation Engineer for Care Logistics

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