Hospital Patient Flow Simulation Services
System-Wide Flow Simulation
The System-Wide Simulation Service is a revolutionary new tool for Hospital throughput, staffing, patient flow, and efficiency analysis. The simulation focuses on the issues, parameters, metrics and analysis necessary to improve operations and test the potential impact of operational, capacity or staffing changes or refinements before implementation.
The simulations allows the user to develop effective strategies for:
- Identifying obstacles to smooth patient flow.
- Best matching operational capacity (beds) with current and anticipated patient needs.
- Improving the patient experience by reducing delays.
- Estimating staffing requirements to support predicted patient census.
The following is just a small sample of the questions that can be explored:
- What would be the impact if we alter the number of patients following a particular path?
- What if we introduce an entirely new path?
- Would it improve overall system performance metrics if we add beds to any unit?
- What if we shift capacity from one area to another?
- Would we see an improvement if we vary the number of beds available in a unit by time of day or day of week?
- Are we using the most effective patient movement rules (i.e. prioritization schemes)?
- What would happen if we create blended-purpose units (such as combined medical/surgical units)?
- If the composition of our patient population changes over time would our current policies be sufficient to manage the flow?
- What if our patient arrival volumes increase or decrease substantially?
Bed Management Simulation
Bed management has always been a very tricky logistical problem. As both census and the incidence of chronic disease in the population rise, it is become more difficult all the time. The symptoms of a difficult bed management system can manifest in many different ways. Here are just a few examples:
- Excessive surgery cancellations, usually because the right kind of post-surgical bed is not available.
- Too many patients in off-service or less-than-ideal beds for their condition.
- Longer than expected stays.
There are many potential factors that can lead to the symptoms listed above. Because every hospital system is composed of many interacting components, and because each staff member often only has visibility into his or her own area, the source of the problem will appear to be different depending upon which staff member you ask. Even if each answer is correct, and they may very well be, the only way to come to a solution is to understand how all of the pieces fit together.
With all of the data collected today, the most obvious answer seems to be to turn to the hard evidence waiting in the data. Even that answer, however, is not as simple as it may seem. Currently, data is contained in various systems, and each one might give a slightly different view of the problem. Moreover, each may reflect only a part of any patient’s stay, or only a slice of the total patient population.
We believe that the best way to move toward more efficient bed management is to tackle the problem in multiple steps. The first stage is to understand the flow patterns of your particular patient population, both in aggregate and by individual patient type. Only by understanding these aggregate flows, and the associated demands they create on each unit, is it possible to develop optimal bed capacity allocations and bed management rules (such as policies on bed reservation, appropriate utilization levels, off-service placement, priorities, and so on).
Having understood the flows, it is then enormously helpful to simulate them against the bed allocation and management rules in a virtual environment, where you can test out the impact of these policies on overall system performance measures such as total length of stay by patient type.
A simulation-based decision support tool for Bed Management Analysis and Improvement, if performed by an experienced team, has a large number of benefits including:
- Reduction in number of patients off-service.
- Fewer delays.
- Reduced risk decision making.
- Cost reduction.
- Because the simulation will allow the client organization to have more confidence in the number of resources needed to maximize throughput, the need to hire extra equipment/staff will be greatly reduced.
- Reduced risk decisions.
- The simulation tool will allow the team to understand—in advance – likely outcomes across a broad range of possible scenarios, which will in turn allow you to be prepared to respond appropriately to actual conditions as they occur.
- More efficient decision making.
- The simulation tool, in addition to serving as a great communication platform, will facilitate rapid evaluation of potential move strategies, thereby leading to a more time-efficient decision making process.
- Effective use of up-to-date data.
- For initial planning purposes, the model is typically built with a simulated list of starting inventory. However, during on-going use, the simulation tool is built to allows for the import of actual census levels.
- Improved patient goodwill.
- Because the simulation tool enables client organizations to develop smoother process flow, the overall experience for patients is improved.
The innovative integration of extensive patient data analyses with simulation technology allow clients to better understand the needs of their patient populations, as well as served to uncover non-intuitive and surprising ways that patients had been flowing through the system.
OR Block Scheduling Simulation
The OR Block Scheduling simulation module addresses the challenge of balancing demand and capacity for operating room scheduling. Hospital administrators face an enormous challenge in trying to manage the competing objectives of maximizing surgeon utilization, block utilization, and room utilization while being constrained by recovery and inpatient beds. The OR Block module provides powerful multidimensional ‘what-if” capability for improving OR throughput and utilization.
Outpatient Clinic Simulation
Healthcare administrators must constantly balance the often-competing demands of maximizing the financials of the organization while maximizing the quality of care provided to the patient. The Outpatient Clinic Simulation provides administrators with a highly effective decision support tool to allow them to accurately forecast the impact of proposed operational changes on overall clinic performance. With a powerful ‘what-if’ capability, the Outpatient Clinic Simulations will enable decision makers to identify opportunities for cost avoidance, improve the overall outpatient experience and maximize return on investments in proposed process changes.
Hospital Evacuation Simulation
The Hospital Evacuation Simulation allows evacuation and move planners to explore the expected outcomes associated with various move or evacuation planning scenarios. While it was originally developed to help large hospitals plan moves, this simulation is also well suited to planning for any kind of mass hospital evacuation. The simulation enables communication among project team members about why certain planning decisions have been made and their expected results.
The Hospital Evacuation Simulation also enables staff to answer important questions such as:
- How many elevators do we need to use for the evacuation? What will their utilization be? Do we have enough capacity to dedicate the use of certain elevators to a certain purpose?
- Which possible route should be used for each patient group to minimize bottlenecks?
- How many ambulances can we use efficiently?
- How would a dramatic change in patient mix on move day affect the expected outcome?
- What is the best move sequence that will minimize the total move time?
Simulation Services include:
- Simulation Project Design
- Input Data Collection and Analysis
- Simulation Model Development
- Simulation Model Auditing
- Simulation-based Decision Support
- Provided through a joint service offering with NovaSim
Contact us for more details and a pricing estimate.