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The healthcare industry is one of the oldest industries in the modern world. Organized healthcare systems are necessary for the efficient management of the medical needs of any jurisdiction. A growing number of institutions carry out various responsibilities in the healthcare setting. They include healthcare financiers, money transfer services, pharmaceutical companies and chemists, medical technology providers, and primary healthcare institutions. This paper examines how to improve the patient admission process in order to eliminate complications that may arise due to a prolonged admission process.
The admission process used at Judy’s Hospital is similar to the generic process used by many hospitals. The process starts when the patient arrives at the Emergency Department. In many case, the patient arrives accompanied by someone else such as a spouse, a parent, or a friend. The patients usually wait in the queue until one of the triage units is free. The patient then proceeds for basic screening before seeing a medical doctor. The doctor assesses the patient and determines whether the patient requires admission, or whether the patient can go back home. The main problem that affects service delivery at the hospital is that the admission process can take too long. A patient’s condition can worsen as the patient waits for their turn at the Emergency Department. It is important to find ways of increasing the efficiency of the admissions process to ensure that no patient suffers harm within the healthcare facility.
Root Causes of the Problem
The three main causes of the problem are as follows. First, the hospital implements an unofficial first-come-first-served policy when it comes to hospital admissions. Delays in the Emergency Department can lead to a poor patient experience in the Emergency Department. Therefore, the hospital’s staff members do their best to reduce the time each patient spends in the Emergency Department. First-come-first-served models come from an instinctive need to be fair to all people seeking a service.
Secondly, the hospital does not have a system of classifying the seriousness of the medical condition of the patients when they arrive at the Emergency Department. The first contact with a health professional in the hospital is at one of the triage units. This can lead to the deterioration of the condition of the patient.
The third weakness in the healthcare management model used in the facility is that the healthcare professionals tend to prioritize patient in obvious pain. In reality, patients with more serious conditions may lack the strength to exhibit pain. This leads to a false prioritization process.
Impacts of the Problem
The delays experienced in the emergency room can lead to three main problems. First, the hospital risks litigation if a patient can prove that her condition deteriorated within the hospital premises while waiting for medical attention. A lawyer can argue that the hospital was negligent. In this case, the hospital will then incur losses related to payouts awarded by a court. In addition, the hospital will suffer from reputational damage, which will lead to a reduction in the overall number of patients coming to the facility.
Secondly, the staff members in the hospital may face disciplinary action by regulatory bodies. The nurses and doctors present at the time a patients condition worsens may lose their practicing licenses. This will have a negative impact on the hospitals capacity to offer healthcare services.
The third impact of this problem is it will lead to patient dissatisfaction. If patients notice that the facility does not have a mechanism for prioritizing the cases that require immediate attention, they will not feel safe to come to the hospital. This can lead to losses arising from lost business. In addition, it can affect the reputation of the hospital and may lead to unwanted interest from regulatory authorities.
The solution to the screening problem in the medical facility should lead to better screening of incoming patients. This will avert cases where patients’ condition may deteriorate as they await medical attention. The main cause of the delay is the unofficial implementation of a first-come-first-served model because of its perceived fairness. The hospital needs a system that will enable it to screen all patients upon arrival at the medical facility to determine the urgency needed to handle them. A three-point classification system can help to ensure that those who need immediate attention get to a doctor as soon as possible, and those who are not critical can wait in queue.
In addition, the Emergency Department should always have a nurse and a doctor within the reception to screen all incoming patients. The nurse can take the vitals of the patient such as the heart rate while the doctor can interview the patient to find out whether there are any critical issues requiring immediate attention. A patient with a dislocated joint is obviously in pain and may need immediate attention. However, a patient who has a pain in the chest may be in the initial stages of a heart attack. The second patient may not seem critical but actually requires urgent attention.
How Solution Increases Efficiency
The solution presented in this case is posting a doctor and a nurse inside the reception area to screen patients. Their role is to classify the patients into three levels of urgency. The three levels are critical cases, intermediate cases, and non-critical cases. Critical cases are those where there is an immediate threat of escalation of the medical condition, regardless of the presence of visible pain. It is possible to tell whether a patient’s condition is critical by measuring the body temperature, in conjunction with the heart rate. In addition, the strength of the pulse can help in determining whether a patient’s condition is critical. Non-critical patients refer to those whose condition are stable and are not progressing.
This solution will increase the efficiency of services by ensuring that the hospital provides immediate care to those who need the medical attention immediately. A patient who is bleeding has a progressing condition. A patient whose wounds are not bleeding has a non-progressing condition but is in danger of infection. The bleeding patient obviously needs urgent attention compared to the one in pain.
The presence of a nurse and a doctor in the reception will ensure that the screening process starts earlier. This will improve the ability of the hospital to handle emergency cases more efficiently. In addition, the triage nurses and duty doctors will know the nature of patients they are expecting from the reception. The triage assigned to the critical patients can be equipped to handle such patients. In addition, the duty doctor handling critical patients will have all the equipment needed for diagnosis and care. This will increase the quality of services that the hospital offers.
How Solution Increases Effectiveness
The solution will increase the effectiveness of patient care in the following ways. First, the hospital will know its capacity to deal with critical cases. This will help in making the decision to refer patients to other healthcare facilities when the hospital’s capacity to handle critical patients diminishes. If this information is available in good time, then emergency response teams can decide on the facilities that can take in patients who need immediate attention.
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Secondly, once classified, the patients will have a better idea on how soon they will see a doctor. This will reduce the anxiety patients suffer when the queue seems long. The classification process will put the patients in different queues. This means that even if there are a hundred people in the reception area, a patient in the critical queue will know that she is the fifth person in that queue, and not the hundredth. This will increase patient satisfaction.
Thirdly, each of the medical teams handling each of the three categories of patients will become skilled in their areas of specialization. The repeated handling of critical patients will give the nurses and doctors skills and experience in handling this segment. The result is that their rate of work will increase leading to increased speeds of service.
In conclusion, it is clear that Judy’s hospital can increase it operational efficiency by instituting a screening and classification service in its emergency department. This will lead to better standards of care in the hospital. This paper illustrates that simple solutions can increase the efficiency of the operations of any facility.