It’s not about increasing bed capacity, it’s about optimal patient placement.
In the 1990’s, conventional wisdom indicated that widespread HMO coverage would diminish future utilization in the nation’s hospitals. Hospitals responded by consolidating services, reclassifying beds and closing hospitals. However, this prognostication has proven untrue as the American public “voted out” HMOs in favor of PPOs. Since PPOs are a less stringent gatekeeper, utilization of services has risen steadily and the industry is in the midst of a capacity and patient throughput crisis. Problems with patient throughput have resulted in lost revenue, ineffective policies and procedures, and dissatisfied patients.
In response to the increased patient demand for services, many hospitals are redesigning patient flow and facing a wide array of unsolved issues. These issues include overcapacity, diversions to competitor facilities, excessive wait times, poor bed placement control and a poor discharge process.
By Patricia Kloehn, Executive Vice President, West Coast Region