Inova Fairfax Hospital
Crothall Healthcare Patient Transport Division delivers maximized value by supporting effective processes across all hospital departments, utilizing cutting-edge technology and well-trained people to optimize workflow. Inova Fairfax Hospital, a 927-bed level I trauma center and teaching hospital serving the Washington, DC, metro area, has benefitted from this expertise as Crothall partnered with several departments to optimize their services.
Crothall managers and methods increased transport efficiency to the radiology department by more than half, decreasing turnaround time for inpatient procedures by over 55%. May 2016 ended with 90% of radiology trips at the target turnaround time or less, up from 58% only ten weeks earlier. "The increased consistency really helps with scheduling our procedural cases that require doctors and anesthesia," said Bob Lohnes, CAT Scan Clinical Coordinator at Inova Fairfax Hospital.
Discovering the Solution
The radiology department is one of Inova Fairfax’s nerve centers, providing computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance image (MRI) scans, X-ray imaging and ultrasound scans. The department performs up to 200 tests per day, creating a large volume of transport jobs.
The patient transport director evaluated the trend of key performance indicators (KPI), which showed positive overall turnaround times for patient transport. Radiology requests for transport fluctuated greatly, with more than half of required transport request occurring between 9 AM and 5:30 PM. Crothall strives for optimal service and this fluctuation of hitting our goals in response to a request from radiology told us there were opportunities to evaluate the service requests with radiology and partner to improve.
Inova hospitals excel in a Lean system of change management involving the A3 Project Summary Tool. A team of Crothall experts coordinated with Inova Fairfax’s Radiology department leaders to conduct a focused improvement project to impact throughput and patient care. Key improvement opportunities addressed were batching request for transport, optimizing available technology and improved communication partnership.
By the Numbers
90% of radiology trips at the target turnaround time or less
55% improvement of turnaround times in the radiology department
Stats for the Future
A priority coding sector in the electronic medical records (EMR) technology prioritized radiology-related jobs among the 70 simultaneous tasks that may be occurring at Inova during peak hours, directly reducing patient length of stay while trip volume increased. Radiology staff members were trained in the EMR system to make and observe requests, and a centralized transport request system made available transport information to schedule shifts and further improve transport efficiency, a process known as “future planning.”
“This improved turnaround times by over 55% in the radiology department,” said Jamaal Cottman, Crothall Director of Patient Transport at Inova Fairfax Hospital. We didn’t add staff, we just adjusted them, and that made the process budget-neutral.”
The project’s goal of improving trip turnaround time to 75% was surpassed with a 90% improvement. "This improvement project is one of our most successful here at Inova Fairfax and has been sustained for almost four months,” reported Keith Hardwick, Senior Lean Consultant at Inova Fairfax. “It doesn't look to be slowing or stopping anytime soon!”
Not Just a Face in the Crowd
Patient Transport assigned a Mobile Patient Flow Coordinator as a single point of contact for the radiology department’s leaders and staff members. This person is in charge of all transport needs surrounding radiology jobs, and serves as a liaison between radiology and the rest of the hospital. The personal ownership of the coordinator and other dedicated staff members has increased problem solving and hospital-wide cooperation in lowering patient length of stays.
Patient rounds are built into a smart routine. The Mobile Patient Flow Coordinator commits to rounds in radiology and the emergency department (ED), the two busiest sections of Inova Fairfax. The professional partnerships and understanding fostered between clinicians and transporters allow them to work together more efficiently for patients’ needs. Mobile technology empowers the coordinator to double as a dispatcher, digitally ordering a trip as soon as the need arises.
“They are like patient transport ‘air traffic controllers’,” said Cottman. “They can focus on busy service lines while keeping a pulse on the whole hospital, then pull from inpatients scheduled for later when radiology has less volume.” “The coordinator doing rounds and following up on tasks gives more visibility of the transport department and makes us feel like he is a part of our radiology team," said Abe Nader, Radiology Manager at Inova Fairfax.
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