As we all know, COVID-19 has created ICU capacity constraints across the country. This has left perioperative and inpatient leaders huddling on strategies to keep their ORs open while ICU capacity is at a premium. Without intensive care unit and critical care unit capacity, OR bottlenecks will occur and force the cancellations of surgeries. The cancellations then have a domino effect impacting patients, physicians, and the hospital’s bottom line.

Hospital IQ has been working with customers across the country during this time and have learned some valuable lessons in effectively managing ICU capacity.

Leaders require transparency across departments.

OR and inpatient leadership must collaborate more than ever due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, few organizations are able to operate with a holistic view of their ED, inpatient, and OR operations as they work through issues. Too often, leaders are forced to operate in their silos making decisions from disparate, fragmented data. This lack of visibility creates sub-optimal decision making that hinders the organization’s ability to care for patients.

Proactive decisions must be made to manage throughput.

Traditionally, OR and inpatient leadership would occasionally discuss ideas like cancelling elective procedures, but most organizations would rarely act on the idea due to the patient, physician, and revenue implications. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has forced leaders to take a deeper look at these hard decisions much more frequently. Leaders are scrutinizing ICU stays and planning for OR schedule adjustments daily. Both are complex decisions that require enough time and advance planning to ensure that patient outcomes and physician preference are considered.

The work does not stop at the ICU.

To keep OR and ICU operations in good standing, there must be efficient management of COVID and non-COVID populations in step-down and medical floors. Without streamlining length of stay and discharge management downstream, bottlenecks in lower levels of care will limit the effectiveness of OR and ICU collaboration. Due to this, organizations are challenging their manual coordination methods and asking employees to focus on discharge more than ever.

Taking coordination to the next level.

As we enter flu season and add even more complexity, customers using Hospital IQ’s platform are managing with a transparent and proactive approach. Our inpatient capacity management take coordination to the next level allowing both OR and ICU leadership to see capacity constraints in advance. ICU coordination becomes easier due to robust monitoring and communication tools to connect care medicine teams to ICU issues at hand. Finally, our customers are automating discharge practices that activate efficient and effective patient throughput on lower levels of care to ensure that the entire organization is supporting the OR and ICU efforts. This orchestrated approach to managing patient flow allows our partner organizations to manage through COVID and beyond – creating value and sustainable change for the organization.

Check out this panel discussion to learn more about how Health First and MercyOne Des Moines are improving inpatient operations with predictive analytics.

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