From bottlenecks to backlog, hospitals everywhere face the same business challenges. These problems exhaust resources, hinder improvement, and compromise customer satisfaction. But unlike other industries such as transportation, banking, and food services, many health care leaders have failed to capitalize on one powerful, fundamental notion: smarter management is not costly management.
The June 2006 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, "Hospital-Based Emergency Care: At the Breaking Point,"
underscores the importance of the critical challenges faced by emergency departments in the United States, including overcrowding, ambulance diversions, and inefficient patient flow and hospital operations. Among the IOM recommendations to improve hospital emergency care are the following:
- Hospitals should adopt system-wide operations management principles to improve the quality and efficiency of care.
- Training in operations management for hospitals should be promoted by professional associations, accrediting organizations, and others.
- The Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should develop standards to eliminate ED crowding, boarding, and diversion.
The Managing Hospital Operations Program Can Help
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has developed the five-month Managing Hospital Operations program for executives, managers, and clinicians that will offer the kind of rigorous, science-based operations training — made applicable to health care — that has been largely unavailable to health care professionals.
During this intensive five-month program taught by Eugene Litvak, PhD, one of the nation's leading thinkers on hospital operations redesign, participants will have a highly-individualized opportunity to address their organization's unique inefficiencies. The operational management concepts and practical tools presented during this program have already helped many hospitals to:
- Relieve demands on the ICU unit so that, when needed, beds will be available for high-risk patients
- Improve surgical schedules, both emergent and urgent, which can smooth patient flow from a crowded emergency department and reduce ambulance diversions
- Determine the necessary capacity (e.g., beds, staff, equipment) needed to satisfy random patient demand
- Dramatically improve hospital margins to achieve multimillion annual savings — participants will hear from executives of two such hospitals during this program
- Improve the quality and safety of care
By applying variability methodology, developed by Dr. Eugene Litvak and his colleagues, alongside other operations management principles, Boston Medical Center transformed its operations and reduced ambulance diversions by 20%, and last-minute postponement of elective surgeries by 99.5%. [Boston Medical Center, Annual Report 2004] Read an article
in The Boston Globe featuring faculty, Eugene Litvak, and some amazing results achieved by those who've worked with Dr. Litvak. Watch the interview
with Dr. Litvak on NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, featuring the extraordinary story of how he helped Boston Medical Center transform their emergency department.
Watch this short video of a past participant and hear how he identified a way for his organization to potentially generate an additional $2-3 million in annual revenue.