What is the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of a hospital emergency room, either as a patient or as a companion to one? Other than the relevant illness or injury, most people think of overcrowded rooms with long waiting hours. Bottlenecked Emergency Rooms are a chronic problem that has now transcended into a full-blown crisis. Emergency departments are so overcrowded that patients are told to wait for hours in the hospital hallways for a bed or are even turned away altogether and advised to look elsewhere. This is frustrating not only for patients and their relatives, but it is also unsafe and unfocused patient care. Thus, the Patient Throughput and Capacity Management Market was formed out of a very real need for a solution.
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With the advent of a rising middle class that is frequently underinsured or even uninsured, the number of patients visiting hospitals has dramatically increased recently and is only expected to grow in the years to come. Some medical institutions tried to tackle this problem by expansion i.e. enlarging the emergency room, adding more beds, or building another dedicated wing. As long as service payments covered the costs, the continued system inefficiencies were masked. However this is no long viable and the Patient Throughput and Capacity Management Market includes specific focus areas like reducing wait times for admission through the ER, achieving timely patient transfer from the ICU to medical units and improving the directional flow from the inpatient setting to eventual long-term care facilities.
Improving operational and organisational efficiency is the key Patient Throughput and Capacity Management market driver. Most hospitals don’t make optimum use of their existing resources including infrastructure, physical staff, and equipment. This basically means that hospitals feel ‘full to capacity’ when they actually aren’t. This can lead to costly mistakes like expanding treatment space or building new facilities which might not be required. Experts estimate that hospitals are losing out on anywhere between $2 million all the way up to $20 million in opportunity cost, and a significant portion of this can be achieved through efficient Patient Throughput and Capacity Management. Lack of efficiency is something most medical organisations can ill-afford going forward as the baby boomer population approaches retirement age worldwide. Along with this, hospital revenue is expected to grow in single digits, suggesting that hiring new staff and building new healthcare facilities is out of the question in the medium term.
Some of the Patient Throughput and Capacity Management market restraints are –
- Lack of powerful forecasting tools – Even today, hospitals use rudimentary forecasting or the rule of thumb to anticipate patient inflow. Since resource and capacity planning are both done based on this, any inaccuracy in demand estimates results in misallocation of both. While idle resources reduce operational efficiency, overloading risks customer diversion and dissatisfaction.
- Lack of real time information – Many hospitals lack clear communication channels across departments. Thus, hospital staff have little real-time knowledge about patient flows, capacity positions or resource demands. This results in long patient waiting times and opportunity loss for the institution.
Some of the Patient Throughput and Capacity Management Market Key Market Players are GE Healthcare, Infosys, McKesson, Cerner and TeleTracking.
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