AHA Solutions’ Patient Flow Challenges Assessment Finds Patient Flow Implications Extend Beyond Patient Care

Hospitals consider patient flow one of the key elements to successful patient care, patient satisfaction and overall hospital performance and are investing in a wide range of solutions to improve it, according to the 2012 Patient Flow Challenges Assessment (PFCA) Report released today. The 2012 PFCA was conducted by AHA Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association (AHA). The report is based on a survey of US hospital professionals to measure patient flow challenges and improvement initiatives.

The 68 patient flow issues that the 2012 PFCA measured include root causes, effects and impact, specific obstacles and process and information system improvement initiatives being pursued. It also assesses which of the eight (8) stages of patient flow respondents are prioritizing and what structure their organization has instituted to spearhead improvement.

“The 2012 Patient Flow Challenges Assessment is a valuable tool to gain insight on the challenges and potential solutions to patient flow issues,” said Mary Longe, Director, AHA Solutions, Inc.

Report findings indicate that hospital leaders connect patient flow to many of the high-priority issues their organizations are addressing, including readmissions, changing Medicare and Medicaid requirements, electronic health records and the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) rating system. Respondents identify communications as the most pervasive cause of poor patient flow and are in consensus that inadequate communication during patient handoff is the leading individual obstacle. Delays from triage to disposition, inadequate discharge planning, patient noncompliance with discharge instructions and limitations on follow-up care are also among the leading concerns and obstacles. Discharge is cited as the top priority for improvement.

However, respondents also report successes in patient flow improvement, including process changes that require little or no investment in staff or systems upgrades. Most hospitals note designating permanent departments or committees to patient flow improvement and identify hospitalists as an effective resource. Additionally, hospitals are investing in asset, equipment, staff and patient tracking systems to help directly improve patient flow. Other new systems and processes intended to make data more visible and improve communication throughout the organization will indirectly support patient flow efforts.

To view or download a summary of the assessment results please visit our PFCA landing page. To obtain a copy of the 2012 Patient Flow Challenges Assessment Executive Summary please contact, AHA Solutions at 800.242.4677.

About the AHA
The American Hospital Associationis a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which includes nearly 5,000 hospitals and health care systems, networks, and other providers of care and 42,000 individuals. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit www.aha.org.

About AHA Solutions
AHA Solutions, Inc. is a resource to hospitals pursuing operational excellence. As an American Hospital Association (AHA) member service, AHA Solutions collaborates with hospital leaders and market consultants to conduct the proprietary AHA Signature Due Diligence Process and identify solutions to hospital challenges in the areas of care continuum, cultural transformation, clinical integration and financial sustainability. AHA Solutions provides related marketplace analytics and education to support product decision-making. As a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association (AHA), the organization convenes people with like interests for knowledge sharing centered on timely information and research. AHA Solutions is proud to reinvest its profits in the AHA mission: creating healthier communities. For more information, contact AHA Solutions at 800.242.4677 or visit www.aha-solutions.org.