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Making Hospitals Fundamentally More Efficient – By Design

Care

Care Design Emergency Department (ED) self-assessment tool 

Anyone in the healthcare space is keenly aware that the Emergency Department (ED) is extremely complex, unpredictable and stressful.  It is often said that the ED is the front door to any healthcare system. So it is no big surprise that the ED is also the center of conversation when speaking about admissions, wait times, and the need to find cost savings for a hospital.

With that said, whether you're building a new ED department, or renovating or expanding an existing space, there are a lot of variables that need to be taken into account in order to improve care pathways, increase efficiency, and control costs.

When thinking about how you need to plan or design the new space, it is essential that the planning incorporates workflow and operational planning, because if sub-optimal workflow patterns are carried over into the new space, the opportunity for success is quickly lost.

Historically though, the typical planning process ignores the needs of service and operational planning, and rarely incorporates workflow into the design and spatial decisions. That fact is a little surprising considering patient care is the core foundation of any healthcare mission.  Ideally – since the ED is the “front door” to the hospital, doesn’t it make sense to start the conversation by talking about workflow in the ED and its impact on the rest of the hospital system?

With that said there are many forward-thinking healthcare organizations that are taking a new approach to designing their new space – one that combines workflow optimization, simulation modeling and facility design to create a fundamentally more efficient infrastructure for optimal care delivery.

“ED facility design is a critical lever for improving care pathways, increasing efficiency, and controlling costs,” said Tammy Merisotis, GE Healthcare Performance Solutions. “Facility design, whether a new build or renovation, needs to support workflow and patient volumes for years to come. You want to get it right the first time and reduce the chance for costly construction changes orders. Facilities want to structure care delivery and patient care pathways to improve access, drive quality, and increase workflow efficiency.”

To help healthcare organizations with this process, GE Healthcare Performance Solutions has created a Care Design Emergency Department (ED) self-assessment tool that will help provide key insights into an organization’s strategic ED plan whether one is designing for today – or defining for tomorrow. Specifically, this tool will help evaluate an organizations attention to critical factors such as à

  • Workflow analysis and process simulation
  • New demand patterns
  • Process improvement efforts
  • The impact of emerging technology

The assessment tool provides: (1) a written analysis of the organizations “design profile”; (2) recommendations on additional tools and analytics that might benefit planning efforts; and (3) a sample view of ED simulation models.

Overall, ED facility design is a critical lever for improving care pathways, increasing efficiency, and controlling costs. This tool can be a first step as organizations assess their approach.