What is Patient Flow?
“Patient flow is the movement of patients through a healthcare facility. It involves the medical care, physical resources, and internal systems needed to get patients from the point of admission to the point of discharge while maintaining quality and patient / provider satisfaction. Improving patient flow is a critical component of process management in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.” – according to “What is Patient Flow?” in NEJM Catalyst, 1 January 2018.
Streamlining patient flow means improving coordination of care, patient safety, and health outcomes by optimally meeting the demand for care, and moving patients through care pathways quickly and efficiently.
Poorly streamlined patient flow can lead to long access and waiting times and even adverse health outcomes, in the form of re-admissions and mortality. Inefficient scheduling can lead to units becoming overcrowded, and staff and support services being stretched.
Why address Patient Flow?
Because you will generate tangible results in continuity of patient care, increased revenue and higher reimbursement, and the reduction of avoidable patient days, while increasing safety and improving patient outcomes. All this is demonstrated in the following example: Why a Cookie-Cutter Approach Won’t Work to Improve Patient Flow