The province is using innovative technology as part of lean process improvements to enhance patient access to hospital services in Regina and Saskatoon.
New bed-management software being implemented in Saskatchewan’s two largest centres will help reduce congestion in hospitals and improve access to inpatient services. The software is expected to help reduce surgical wait times, and encourage better flow through clogged emergency rooms.
The new tool will enable hospitals in Saskatoon and Regina to track inpatient needs in real time, matching patient needs with bed availability and automatically notifying staff when rooms need to be cleaned for a new patient. The procurement process undertaken will allow hospitals in other Saskatchewan communities to implement the bed management as they become ready to install it in the future. This same approach to improve patient care has been successful in other provinces and the United States.
“This software will increase hospitals’ capacity to serve patients promptly,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said. “This is one strategy, along with lean and others, that are being taken to address bed flow and availability. Each day, our hospitals will be able to admit more patients for surgeries and other procedures, and relieve some of the pressure in emergency departments that get congested with patients waiting for a room. We anticipate this will be another mechanism to help us achieve our Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative goal of no patient waiting longer than three months for surgery by 2014.”
“This is a powerful tool, using real-time information to help us get the right patient in the right bed for the right level of care at the right time,” Saskatoon Health Region Vice-President of Integrated Health Services Sandra Blevins said.
“We are looking forward to being better able to anticipate and respond to the needs of hospital inpatients,” Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region Vice President of Clinical Support Sue Neville said. “Like an air traffic control centre, this system offers a more complete picture of which patients are waiting and where the most appropriate beds for them are. This will help our region to serve patients in a more efficient manner, thus improving their experience at our facilities.”
Crown corporation eHealth Saskatchewan negotiated the $2.5 million provincial licensing of patient flow software from U.S.-based Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. Annual costs for the information system will be about $500,000 a year.
“Various partners in our health system are increasingly acting together to improve patient care and make more efficient use of our resources,” eHealth Saskatchewan CEO Susan Antosh said.