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New York Presbyterian Eliminates Patient Flow Bottlenecks With Cutting Edge Management Technology

Holly Meisner, VP of Patient Access at New York-Presbyterian was standing in a room filled with giant LED screens displaying real-time data as colorful infographics when she compared her new operation to an 'air traffic control center'. However in this case, instead of managing vehicular traffic, they're managing the flow of patients through the system and the availability of beds to put them in.

At a time when hospitals are concentrating on improving the patient experience and speeding up processes through new technology, NY Presbyterian is aiming to remove the sort of bottlenecks that result in long wait times, and enraged patients, using software developed by Pittsburgh-based TeleTracking Technologies.

"We want to be able to give patients access, and we want to make it as easy and streamlined as possible," Meisner said.

At Manhattan’s East 68th Street, the NYP/Weill Cornell Medical Center's Patient Placement Operations Center is the second to go online at the system this year. The first one set up by Meisner was at the Milstein Building at the New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center campus in Upper Manhattan in February.

Using real-time data, registered nurses at the call center find the appropriate beds for patients. On the other side of the room, environmental services personnel are busy cleaning beds to make sure they’re ready when needed, while the transport specialists help coordinate patient movement. A live video feed will soon be available to link up with the hospital’s transfer center, showing when, for example, a stroke patient at a hospital outside the city needs to be transferred to a neural ICU bed.

Meisner said the initial data from the Milstein operations center is encouraging. "We know that the patient satisfaction score has gone up and we've been able to create access for our patients,” she said.

Overall, the time it takes for a patient to be admitted and assigned to a bed has been reduced by 20 percent because of this streamlined process.

Dr. Joseph Underwood III, chief of the emergency department at the NYP/Columbia University Medical Center, told Crain's he likes the new patient placement system: “It has had a significant impact on our department," he said. "We've been able to eliminate some of the downtime we have for beds. Basically, patients are getting their beds sooner, reducing the amount of time our admitted patients spend in the ED."

And that gives doctors more time to spend with new patients, he added.