On Thursday, January 20, 2010, Sandi Claudell will present a free live webcast.
In all businesses there is a certain demand on resources to produce a certain amount of results in a given window of time. Building a car to meet customer demand, answering help lines so no one waits too long or drops off the line, processing invoices, etc.
This is true in healthcare as well. Whether in clinics or Emergency Departments, the concern is:
- Are my patients waiting too long to be seen? Perhaps so long that they leave without being seen at all.
- Do I have enough staff to handle the load. Do I have the right mix of physicians, nurses and clerks?
- Do we have enough rooms to handle the load of patients?
In the discipline of “Lean” there are a few key calculations we use to determine the needed time and resources. One calculation is ‘takt time’ or ‘takt rate’. This is a simple calculation of the number of minutes available divided by the number of patients needing to be seen. Each step in the process cannot take any longer than this unit of time OR you need to double up on the resources. For example, if the takt rate is 15 minutes then the following steps cannot take any longer than 15 minutes each: registration, vitals (blood pressure, weight, etc), initial triage by the nurse, instructions after meeting with the physician and setting up the next appointment. However, if the doctor typically visits with the patient for 30 minutes then we need 2 physicians in this clinic … this way a patient will exit the clinic every 15 minutes.
Another calculation is “Process Lead Time”. This is based upon the ‘exit rate’ and the number of patients waiting to be seen. It calculates how long the last patient will have to wait before entering and/or exiting the process.
One of the biggest push backs I get in healthcare is that each patient is unique and the volumes of patients seen each day varies and is unpredictable. They are also unclear on just how many doctors, nurses and exam rooms would be required to keep up with the pace of incoming patients.
I used @RISK to determine the number of rooms, nurses, physicians etc. based upon the varying number of patients to be seen each day. This was helpful in determining how to assign exam rooms in corridors and if they need to hire more nurses per shift etc.
This free live webcast will go through the process we used and the graphic outcomes.