"The focus on overall flow includes a lot of different departments: Transportation, the whole registration department, the case managers," he says. "And increasingly, [CMS's new] two-midnight rule is getting a lot of attention."
With tracking technology already in place, Milton says adding patient tracking tags was as simple as assigning them to patient. That way, the staff can further streamline patient flow from the ER.
"My thinking all along was to start small and build on it, so after success with IV pumps, our next wave was tagging patients when they come into the ER," he says.
RFID tags on patients track them from the time they register at the ED to the time of discharge either from the ED or from an inpatient room. Implemented only three months ago, Milton says it's too early for definitive results on wait times, but he will soon have more data he can review on those metrics.
"We're getting really good data for patients who, for example, go down for X-ray, and the system does some automatic prompts that should help the staff," he says. "The staff are pleased, particularly at the end, with discharge. They cut off the wristband and throw it into the RFID box, which sends environmental services a message saying that room's ready to be cleaned. It's definitely gotten us more efficient on turning over the room."