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A way to lubricate patient flow

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The American Journal of Medical Quality describes the Patient Flow Management Center (PFMC) at the three-hospital, 935-bed Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals system, in Philadelphia. The center improved rates of emergency department (ED) walkouts, ED and post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) boarding, ambulance diversion, and average elapsed time from ED door to hospital bed.

“This is about taking non-value-added steps out of the process and getting rid of the ‘silos’ of bed management,” said lead author Paris B. Lovett, M.D.,  emergency-medicine specialist at Jefferson. “Lots of hospitals suffer from poor patient flow. The problem is the hospital itself being very full—with a mismatch of demand and supply that impacts a lot of areas. We were having all of these problems [at Jefferson].”

The PFMC, with an open floor plan and 18 pods, lets the hospital system  integrate services that, in other hospitals, typically do not share management or reporting relationships and are not in a shared workspace, including, Medscape summarizes:

  • Environmental services for cleaning rooms.
  • Within-facility patient transport.
  • Around-the-clock bed management by a patient flow clinical supervisor who is a critical care nurse.
  • Dispatch for local ambulance services and for advanced life support air and ground transport.
  • Transfer center for coordinating transfer of patients from other facilities.
  • A single technology platform for all of these functions.


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