Take Control of Demand, Capacity, and Throughput with Better Care Orchestration
Written by Angie Franks, Chief Executive Officer, ABOUT
For decades, health systems have operated as single entities largely in name only. On the surface, they shared the same brand, signage, and mission statement, but they operated like a disparate collection of assets, each site having its own leadership, key performance metrics, finances, and operating processes.
For the most part, this lack of unity and integration was satisfactory. The health system had never been stressed to the point where the disconnected structure had significant consequences. Then came COVID-19.
Health systems from tightly populated metropolitan areas to geographically sprawling rural regions quickly discovered the risks of operating as a loosely affiliated group rather than as one, unified system. We all remember the results:
- patients spent hours waiting for beds in one hospital while the hospital in another community was nearly empty;
- providers practiced outside of their specialty because available on-call specialists could not be identified or located; and
- one hospital overflowed with supplies while another aimlessly searched the web for available vendors.
The pandemic exposed what happens when health systems do not operate as one system of care, and although the threat of additional pandemic surges always looms, we seem to be coming to a place of recovery with a need for transformation. It is time to re-examine and re-evaluate the ways health systems operate and are structured.
Controlling Three Key Levers is the Key to Systemness
To unify the health system, leaders must reimagine patient flow and improve care orchestration. Care orchestration connects people, data, workflows, and systems to improve outcomes and enable more coordinated care. Improved care orchestration enables health systems to take control of three key levers: demand, capacity, and throughput. In greater detail:
Faced with enormous economic pressures, it is imperative health systems become more proactive in how they drive referrals, capture more patients and market share, and build provider and patient loyalty. That means when a physician requests admission to their hospital, it should only require one phone call and one consult that is concluded in minutes instead of hours.
Acute care is under a lot of stress today due to staffing and resource shortages, meaning that many health systems have reduced capacity to care for patients. As a result, it is critical that health systems gain systemwide visibility of the resources at their disposal and optimize them to ensure that the patients are receiving care in the best setting and clinical and operational team members have the tools to be more efficient and work at top of license.
Historically speaking, the largest bottleneck for health systems failing to reach full capacity has not been labor shortages; rather, it has been throughput. To improve throughput and, hence, inpatient capacity, it’s essential to remove bottlenecks by orchestrating patients out of the acute setting to the next-best setting of care, whether that is to their home with support, a skilled nursing facility, behavioral health facility, or a rehabilitation center.
How ABOUT Offers Control Over the Levers
ABOUT provides an end-to-end care orchestration platform backed by expertise and partnership to connect people, data, workflows, and systems to facilitate transitions into, within, and discharges out of the acute care setting to the next best setting of care.
With ABOUT, health systems can take control of demand to drive referrals, capture more patients and market share, and build provider and patient loyalty by opening a new front door to acute care via physician referrals. To maximize capacity, ABOUT enables health systems to transition patients out of the acute care setting to the next best setting of care to drive throughput. Accelerating throughput to open capacity allows health systems to meet and drive demand which then becomes an economic engine for the health system.