WIHI: The Right Care, Right Setting, and Right Time of Hospital Flow

Date: March 9, 2017


  • Frederick C. Ryckman, MD, Professor of Surgery, Senior Vice President, Medical Operations, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC)
  • Uma R. Kotagal, MBBS, MSc, Executive Lead, Community and Population Health, CCHMC
  • Pat Rutherford, RN, MS, Vice President, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Making sure patients get the right care, in the right place, at the right time couldn’t be a clearer set of aims. And yet achieving them isn’t so simple, especially at large health systems. It requires a number of underlyi​ng system improvements, including well-designed hospital flow. This has been a focus for health care for the past few decades, often prompted by bottlenecks and overcrowding in emergency departments (EDs). Things are getting better in some places, but there’s definitely a ways to go.

IHI’s work on hospital flow dates back to the early 2000s. That’s when we and hospital teams started learning about the ways most hospitals scheduled their operating rooms, practically ensuring backups and delays there and in EDs because of the frequent mismatch between planning for emergency surgeries and elective ones. We check in on progress and the issues still bedeviling improvers ― along with the latest on what sorts of changes are necessary on the March 9, 2017, WIHI: The Right Care, Right Setting, and Right Time of Hospital Flow.

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