How do you really know, really, how many beds you need in your new facility? Did the architects tell you based upon their usual “ranges” of services, ratios they’ve found through their decades of experience? Or better yet, did you use a spreadsheet to “figure it out?”
If you answered “yes” or “I don’t know” to any of the above questions, then you have a problem, a very serious problem. Moreover, you probably have the wrong answer.
What if I told you that there was a way to get a good, better yet, a great answer to these questions? The kind of answer that comes with 95% confidence. The kind of answer that helps you sleep better at night knowing you’ve got that critical piece of information right. You’ve got a foundation laid that takes into account all the unknown guesstimates and variables taken into account. The processes identified that you need to change to have the most effective and efficient facility you can have. You have a plan to work with that will get you to the end goal. You’ve also got a team to back you up with decades of experience in healthcare and in the tools you need to accomplish the goal of making your new facility be the best it can be, an optimal running facility saving you millions in construction and millions more in ongoing operations.
The answer is two fold. The first answer is “simulation.” Only with Simulation can one bring balance in analyzing staffing/resources, process performance and the customer experience, all in the same tool. It lets you layer on different processes to get the best process for you, your patients and your board. It can tell you:
- how long your patients will wait in the Emergency Department for an inpatient bed
- how long their Length of Stay will be in the ED
- how many beds you will need in each area of the hospital
- what will your staffing look like
- which “best practice” is best for you and your patients
- what your support areas service levels will be
and many more insights. Simulation is the only tool to evaluate complex systems, which hospitals are definitely complex systems. Even more importantly, your new facility needs to run at optimal levels, be the absolute best it can be beginning day one. Simulation takes as much as 6 months off the learning curve associated with moving into a new facility. It’s based upon your situation, your processes and your patients. It also engages your medical group in the process and helps build consensus with the final configuration. That benefit alone is a big help in planning and building a new facility. It’s a great tool for getting everyone on the same page.
The second answer is “health care experience.” Our team has some of the most published people in the country on simulation in health care. They have decades of hospital experience working in some of the biggest and best health care systems in the country. They don’t just give you the answers and walk away. They help you bring together the teams you need to accomplish this massive adventure. They will even run the teams if you need their help. They are there to insure that it all happens, the changes that need to happen, really change.
So don’t rely upon someone’s spreadsheet when you build your new home to be. Get the right answers that you can have confidence in and get that good night’s rest that you deserve knowing it was done right.
David Ferrin is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and has worked with hundreds of healthcare organizations specializing in the identification, evaluation, and implementation of process/systems improvements. He has significant experience with organizations in transition including growth, aggressive reorganization and downsizing. Strengths include in-depth knowledge of operations, facilitation to closure, and analytical expertise that fosters the identification and implementation of attractive improvement opportunities.