How Hospital Bottlenecks Cause A Healthcare Gridlock
The healthcare industry is complex and interdependent. Much like a highway interchange, it relies on multiple players and processes to flow smoothly.
But just like in an interchange, a single roadblock can bring the system to a grinding halt—leading to serious consequences for all involved.
The Healthcare Silos
In healthcare, there are three primary players, each with their own priorities. However, they stay in their own lane and rely on independent software systems to achieve their goals.
|Healthcare player||Main priority||System used|
|Patients||Seek an engaged and personalized experience||Digital technologies
- Example: mobile health, wearables
- Provide constant monitoring and instantaneous updates
|Providers (Doctors, nurses, and more)||Provide the highest quality of care||Electronic health records
- A comprehensive record of a patient’s medical history
|Payers (Insurance companies)||Balance the cost and quality of care||Claims database
- Information on medical appointments, bills, and more (some claims can take 60 days to process)
This leads to frustrations for all parties, including poor communication and uncoordinated care.
A Not-So-Patient Journey
What factors lead to a less-than-desirable experience? Challenges arise from the moment a patient walks into a hospital
- Entering the Emergency Department (ED)
Overcrowded EDs are often the first point of contact for a patient. On average, 43.3 per 100 people visit the emergency department annually in the United States for everything from fevers to injuries. Of these, 6 out of 10 must wait longer than 15 minutes before they can be seen by a provider.
- Playing the Waiting Game
Patients are willing to endure up to 2 hours in the emergency department, but wait times often surpass that. The average wait time in 2017 was upwards of 352 minutes, or almost six hours. As a result, up to 9% of patients leave without being seen (LWBS).
There’s simple psychology behind why some people aren’t able to wait it out. According to former Harvard professor David Maister, unoccupied time that is compounded with anxiety makes a wait feel longer.
These long waits also affect a patient’s perception and satisfaction of the care they eventually do receive.
The True Cost
After they’re admitted, inconsistent processes and flows continue to plague patient experiences.
A typical hospital stay can rack up a single patient close to $12,000 across 4.6 days. With these costs climbing every year, uncoordinated care adds to these receipts by extending the stay.
Uncoordinated care also creates a dire strain on resources, including the humans behind all the work. The resulting physician burnout costs the U.S. health system $32 billion annually. While lost productivity causes over half ($18 billion) of this amount, another $8.5 billion is due to poor experiences, which impacts patient satisfaction which leads to falling margins for hospitals.
Severe bottlenecks compound these issues, forcing the healthcare system into a gridlock.
What’s Causing the Jam?
Disjointed communication and a lack of visibility across systems are the major reasons for these costly standstills. This is analogous to using a paper map to navigate:
- No updates based on the current situation
- Time-consuming to figure out specific route to a destination
- Show multiple routes, but not the fastest way to get there
What if there was a smart GPS to help the healthcare industry overcome roadblocks?
- Real-time, dynamic updates on the current situation
- Knows where you are, and where you need to go
- Filters only the appropriate and relevant information
The Leidos careC2 Command Center solves healthcare traffic jams.
The coordinated technology suite rapidly identifies and reduces bottlenecks and delays in the care process. This improves the operational flow of hospitals—so that patients, providers, and payers all reach their destinations safely and efficiently.
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