"With everything we were doing in trying to improve flow, I was thinking about how we could make sure the nurses' time is best spent with patients and not running around looking for an IV pump," he says, noting the chief time-waster his team identified.
Thanks to a local partnership with GE, which has a large presence in nearby Schenectady, he got an early demonstration of how RFID tagging could work to reduce nurses' time spent locating equipment and decided installing it was the right move operationally.
The tagging easily identified the location and status of each of the 500 IV pumps the hospital was trying to track—to that point unsuccessfully. An incidental discovery was that the hospital was oversupplied with the devices.
"Once we redid the workflow and we tagged all the pumps, instead of needing 500, I [realized we] only needed about 340," says Milton. "That value was roughly around $400,000 a year. Multiply that by three years and that's where you get $1.1 million. We used those savings to purchase the technology."
Milton says he works most frequently with the operations team in avoiding backups from the ED, which can mean patients waiting for a bed, a big no-no given the culture leaders at Ellis are trying to integrate.