2008 National Survey Reveals Vast Majority of Healthcare Facilities Have Poor Patient Flow : StatCom survey of healthcare executives reveals patient flow and bed management systems are on the rise along with new technology such as bar-coding and RFID

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Today, StatCom announced the findings of the 2008 National Survey on Patient Flow Challenges and Technologies, an independent, nationwide survey of more than 200 healthcare executives. According to the findings, the overwhelming majority of U.S. healthcare executives (89 percent) reveal their facility has poor patient flow.

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When it comes to displaying care milestone progression or waiting times, one in 10 facilities currently display this information to patients and their families

While healthcare executives agree there is poor patient flow in their facility, they also reveal the following issues at the root of this problem:

Poor communication (67 percent) Ineffective scheduling of activities and resources (36 percent) Lack of beds (36 percent) Lack of staff to help facilitate patient flow (34 percent) Poor centralized knowledge about the location and status of each patient (32 percent) StatCom's 2008 National Survey on Patient Challenges and Technologies was designed to capture the thoughts and opinions held by U.S. healthcare executives on issues facing their facilities regarding patient flow and technology. Results of the study can be downloaded at http://www.statcom.com/survey/national-survey-2008.aspx.

"The majority of healthcare executives recognize the issues their facility faces when it comes to poor patient flow," said Michael Holland, EVP of sales and marketing of StatCom. "Whether it is long wait times in the ER or overcrowding issues, patient flow includes more than just bed space. This study validates the challenges hospitals face when dealing with patient flow, along with technology uses, capacity issues and how healthcare facilities are taking on those challenges directly."

Hands down, healthcare executives say a hospital-wide patient flow system has the best potential to improve patient throughput at their facility, followed by ED tracker (ranked second), bed tracker (ranked third), departmental solutions (ranked fourth). Expanding facilities (ranked fifth) and manual process ranked last.

Surprisingly, more healthcare executives reveal in 2008 that they have not implemented a patient flow system at their facility (56 percent) compared to 50 percent in 2007. Similarly, in 2007, 92 percent of healthcare leaders said their facilities have incorporated process improvements to improve patient flow, and in 2008, this figure was 94 percent.

Regarding the use of technology, it was nearly an even split with 52 percent of healthcare executives saying their facility utilizes bed management technology and 48 percent saying they rely on other methods. The current use of bed management technology shows a 12 percent increase from the previous year. In 2007, 60 percent of healthcare executive respondents said there was no bed management software or technology within their facilities.

The majority (70 percent) of respondents report patient tracking and bed management information is made available to nursing staff via computer terminals, another slight improvement from the previous year. In 2007, 63 percent said patient information was made available via computer terminals. Respondents in 2008 also say their facility has patient tracking and bed management information available via phone calls and voice messages (67 percent), grease boards (29 percent), digital displays (19 percent) and registered mobile devices (12 percent).

"When it comes to displaying care milestone progression or waiting times, one in 10 facilities currently display this information to patients and their families," said Sheri Sorrell, research manager for Jackson Healthcare. "Patient tracking should be a main focus, so loved ones are constantly informed and hospitals are more accountable."

The responsibility of optimizing patient flow resides largely on chief nursing officers according to 32 percent of respondents, followed by the chief operating officers (15 percent), vice president of nursing (13 percent), chief executive officers (11 percent) and vice president of operations (four percent).

To help track patient status, U.S. healthcare executives say they are currently considering technologies such as bar-coding (62 percent), patient tracking software (38 percent), tablets or PDAs (33 percent), RFID (29 percent), inpatient scheduling modules (23 percent) and other technologies (12 percent).

In the future, the vast majority (88 percent) of healthcare executives say improved productivity and/or efficiency at their facility is essential to meet patient demand. Additionally, 67 percent say improving technology, 43 percent say expanding facilities, 35 percent say hiring more nursing staff and three percent say hiring more administrative staff is necessary to meet future patient demand.

About the 2008 Patient Flow Challenges and Technologies Survey

The 2008 National Patient Flow Challenges and Technologies Survey was conducted in August. More than 200 U.S. healthcare executives completed the survey, which was sponsored by StatCom. Of the 237 respondents, more than half (59 percent) were CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CNOs, CMOs or CIOs, and 19 percent held roles as directors. The study is sponsored by StatCom. Camera-ready charts and graphs of key findings are available. Send request to thyatt@statcom.com.

About StatCom

StatCom's patient flow logistics and tracking software was developed to improve hospital-wide communications, patient throughput and capacity management. This unique healthcare IT solution provides an immediate and comprehensive view of the entire patient flow process with real-time tools to manage that flow within and between departments. Operational visibility increases, communication is enhanced, and patient care hand-offs are turned into handshakes. As a result, financial performance is maximized while greatly enhancing the patient experience. A number of leading and innovative hospitals in the U.S. are using StatCom to address their patient flow challenges. StatCom is a subsidiary of Jackson Healthcare Solutions, a group of companies focused on providing the healthcare industry with innovative people resources and IT solutions. For more information contact us at 800.930.0870 or at info@StatCom.com.

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Tamyra Hyatt
StatCom
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