Friday, September 23, 2011

Patient Journey Boards Improving Patient Flows

I visited Calvary Public Hospital on Tuesday to learn more about their Patient Journey Board and the Patient Flow Unit.  This is to have a more coordinated approach to the way in which patients move through the hospital.  It is a large magnetic whiteboard that is near the nurses’ station.  It contains de-identified information about the patients and it means that the commonly asked questions are answered at a glance: When is the patient going home? Has the patient been referred to Allied Health? What is the status of the referral? It means that not only the treating team can see this information but so can the patient and their family. 

The manual whiteboard is a common method for tracking patients and their care planning is a manual whiteboard within the clinical space.  This approach has been used for some time on other hospitals and Calvary have adapted it to their facility.  Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide is using this approach also.  A poster of their work is available online.

Sir Charlies Gardiner Hospital in WA has also undertaken this work.  A slideshow of their approach is available online and will give you an idea of what they have done to improve patient flow through the hospital.

The Department of Health and Human Services in Tasmania, as part of their broader eHealth strategy, was interested in identifying ways to improve the quality of patient care while also increasing organisational efficiency in their hospitals.  One way they did this was by replacing the manual magnetic whiteboard which tracked patients’ admission and care during their stay in hospital with an electronic clinical portal.  There is a short video online that provides an overview of this.

The Access Improvement Service unit within Queensland Health, in conjunction with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), is conducting an evaluation project to measure the benefits of the electronic patient journey board (EPJB) across a range of clinical settings. The study will be conducted across 12 hospitals and their 32 medical, surgical, and maternity wards. The key areas for evaluation centre on how the EPJB can:

•           make the in-hospital patient journey visible to the whole multidisciplinary team

•           improve communication between multidisciplinary team members

•           facilitate making investigation and care plans more visible, to streamline the patient journey

•           improve the coordination of discharge planning.

More information is available in the newsletter (pp. 5-6) 

Patient flow is an issue of great importance to consumers and we will continue to look at ways this is improving in the ACT health system.

Darlene Cox
Executive Director

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