Why Your Hospital Should LEAN Forward

Mark Graban, the author of Lean Hospitals, asserts that, “waste is any problem that pops up during the day that delays care.” And Christopher Kim, MD, MBA, of the Departments of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Michigan asserts, “up to 40% of time spent in hospitals is waste.” The article from which these quotations came is nearly 5 years old but the situations it describes are no less true in 2013 than they were in 2008.

Bad Processes Lead to Waste

We whole heartedly support the hospital LEAN movement and why your hospital should LEAN forward. Bad processes lead to waste. Waste leads to higher costs, lower employee satisfaction, and compromised patient outcomes. No one wants to blindly perpetuate that destructive cycle. Equally important, in today’s environment of increasing demand for services and decreasing amounts of reimbursements, hospitals must address HOW work gets done (the process) and not simply WHAT work gets done (the task) if they are to survive the profit squeeze.

The strength of LEAN initiatives is the critical examination of clinical processes, breaking them down into parts, and eliminating waste through a series of deliberate steps. The weakness of LEAN initiatives is poor sustainability, in large part because workflow technology is not part of the LEAN strategy and people revert to old behaviors that compromise the LEAN initiative.

Technology Offers Repeatable, Measurable, Sustainable Results

Thus, whether you use our clinical workflow technology, OPTIMI$ER, or build your own process solution, we strongly advise you make workflow technology part of your LEAN strategy. Keep in mind, defining a technology solution should follow the hard work of understanding how people currently do their work, mapping the current state process, and then determining the desired future state process. There is no value in automating a bad process! Process case studies across multiple clinical settings demonstrate how technology can help orchestrate clinical workflow in a repeatable, measurable, and sustainable way leading to:

  • a reduction of errors, omissions, duplications and delays
  • an increase in financial performance, employee productivity and satisfaction, and patient safety and satisfaction
  • a return on investment that can be achieved in 3-6 months

Please contact us if you would like to discuss opportunities for you to further your efforts to LEAN forward. Email vicki@www.optimiumhealth.com.

Health IT Is Needed To Drive Operating Room Efficiency

Hospital Executives agree, Health Information Technology is a critical component for operating room staff to better manage increasing surgical case volume, to lower the cost per patient served, and to drive successful outcomes. This declaration comes from a survey conducted by independent research organization Penn Shoen Berland among 142 hospital executives including CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CNOs.

Aging populations with increasing needs for surgical procedures, as well as a general population with more access to healthcare are the primary reasons case volume across US operating rooms has steadily increased over the past several years. Assessing the state of operating room (OR) volume today and in the future:

  • 49% of respondents report that OR case volume has increased in the past year
  • 73% expect OR case volume to increase over the next 3 years
  • 39% seeing an increase for inpatient cases and 91% anticipating an increase in outpatient cases

In order to meet increasing demand with the resources they have today, more than 79% of decision-makers agree that Health IT solutions tailored to the way ORs work will drive success inside the OR. The executives go further to say that the top 4 strategies to help reduce escalating OR costs are:

  • Increasing OR efficiency and patient throughput (73%)
  • More closely managing overall workflow (57%)
  • Cutting spending on supplies (52%)
  • Reducing overtime (35%)

The top 3 perioperative IT capabilities executives want for OR management are:

  • Scheduling (20%)
  • Seamless integration between departments and systems (16%)
  • Information capabilities such as data storage/audit trail; real-time data; EHR (12%)

Finally, 76% of executives say that “scheduling the OR is inherently different from scheduling other services in the hospital. And, therefore requires a uniquely tailored process and IT solution.”

Clearly, these executives see perioperative IT solutions as having tremendous potential to help control costs while delivering efficiencies that can help hospitals meet the demands of rising surgical volumes. Prior to the introduction of the OPTIMI$ER Surgical Workflow Technology Suite, there have been no orchestration overlay solutions that streamline and guide care givers through the 100-200 steps necessary to get each patient to surgery. Because OPTIMI$ER increases the efficiency of handoffs, and increases the communication between people and systems, it can greatly enhance the functionality of legacy IT and processes that are currently in place. OPTIMI$ER is the game-changer:

  • OPTIMI$ER interfaces with most legacy systems and will provide mechanisms that enable the automated “pull” and “push” of data with those systems in such a way that workflows are enhanced.
  • OPTIMI$ER will guide caregivers through all the tasks and information exchanges necessary to get a surgical patient from first appointment to first incision, seamlessly and safely.
  • OPTIMI$ER was designed with the perioperative care giver in mind – it is not an off the shelf process management system.

If your hospital or surgical group practice sees a similar demand for ORs on the horizon and you question whether or not your current IT configuration will drive operating room efficiency necessary to meet increasing demand, please contact Vicki Harrison at vicki@www.optimiumhealth.com.

OHI Will Partner With LifeBridge Health

As a follow up to our April communication that Optimium Health was named a finalist in the LifeBridge Health Entrepreneur Challenge. OHI will partner with LifeBridge Heath, specifically Sinai Hospital, to streamline the process of perioperative coordination with a leading-edge health IT solution.

Our mutual objectives are to 1) improve operating room throughput, 2) lower the cost per patient served, and 3) increase patient and staff satisfaction. Our overarching goal is to make the patient journey from first appointment to first incision as seamless and satisfying as possible.

To achieve this, OHI will tailor our clinical process orchestration engine, OPTIMI$ER, to the workflow needs of the Sinai perioperative team. This is likely to include task and summary dashboards, task alert and prioritization mechanisms, real-time posting and audit trail, and legacy system interface in order to eliminate data entry duplication. Pre- and post-implementation financial and satisfaction measures will validate the throughput, cost, and satisfaction objectives. We expect the OPTIMI$ER Perioperative Workflow Solution to provide a standardized framework for repeatable, measureable, and sustainable results while allowing for customization to meet the needs of individual hospitals.

LifeBridge Health consists of Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Northwest Hospital, Samuelson Children’s Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Courtland Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Center and their subsidiaries and affiliated units, including LifeBridge Health & Fitness and the LifeBridge Medical Care Centers in Eldersburg, Mays Chapel and Reisterstown. Both Sinai and Northwest remain acute-care general hospitals with complementary clinical centers of excellence.

To find out more about how Optimium Health can help your hospital or surgical group practice enhance the way you coordinate care for your patients from first appointment to first incision, please contact: vicki@www.optimiumhealth.com.

LifeBridge Takes On Role In Business Mentoring – OHI is a Finalist

Sarah Gantz/Staff Writer, The Baltimore Business Journal April 27, 2012

One of Baltimore’s biggest health systems is taking on the role of mentor to businesses trying to gain their footing in the industry. LifeBridge Health took three small businesses under its wing as part of a competition for early-stage businesses run by women and minorities. The three finalists – CervoCheck, Optimium Health, and My Hopeful Journey – all got a seat at the able with one of the area’s largest health systems to talk about business pitches, marketing strategies, and other ways to win business with hospitals.

To top it off, the winner, CervoCheck, which is developing a labor monitoring device that can detect preterm birth, walked away with $15,000. Another $5,000 went to the runner-up, My Hopeful Journey, a web-based infertility calendar.

The challenge is more than a one-time giveaway for deserving businesses – it is an example of the role of leadership to smaller businesses LifeBridge tethers to its mission. LifeBridge CEO Warren Green said he believes it and anchor businesses in every sector have a responsibility to foster growth and competition by fostering new businesses. “I think there is a moral imperative,” Green said. As part of LifeBridge’s Entrepreneur Challenge businesses selected as finalists met with LifeBridge management and medical experts in the company’s area of expertise.

CervoCheck, a company created by a group of Johns Hopkins graduates, met with an obstetrician to talk about the business plan for their labor monitoring device. The feedback on their plan from a hospital chain that could someday be a client was invaluable, said Karen Hwong, Chief Executive Officer of CervoCheck. The company is still in its clinical testing phase, but when it is ready to sell to clients, it hopes to branch out from its teaching hospital roots and appeal to community hospitals. “Whenever you start off with a business, you want to know your device is targeting the need of the market. To have that validated by a leading obstetrician in the field is wonderful,” Hwong said. “So many businesses may go off track and be misdirected, especially in the early stages.”

Leaders of Optimium Health, a workflow solutions company, hope the attention from LifeBridge will give the business – which is less than a year old – more credibility. “Other client’s we’re talking to take notice,” said Heather Guild, the company’s Chief of Marketing. “If LifeBridge is taking a further look at you, then maybe we should too”. Their meetings with LifeBridge throughout the challenge have served as a test run for their upcoming work of making deals with clients, she said. “We have been able to further refine our plan and how we speak with clients and investors,” Guild said.

And at its very base, the Entrepreneur Challenge has given growing businesses what they can’t get enough of – free publicity and networking. LifeBridge announced the competition’s winner April 25 at its third annual Business Summit, a daylong event at which all three finalists had the opportunity to present their business model to some of the area’s top health care providers and business leaders.