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Clinical Logistics – facilitating a structured patient flow
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Clinical Logistics – facilitating a structured patient flow

Careful planning of the daily clinical activities, often supported by advanced scheduling solutions, is a necessity in hospitals. However, with a dynamic and sometimes dramatically changing patient flow it is perhaps even more important that workflows and tools are in place to support the coordinating staff in making the proper adjustments to fit a new and more hectic reality.

Emergency care in Denmark was optimized during the period 2009 – 2012, where the concept of Joint Emergency Departments was implemented. Joint Emergency Departments are organized according to new principles, introducing one entry and one phone number, triage of all patients, a specialist at the door (instead of an unexperienced physician) and even with a specialist in the role of flow master, who will ensure correct treatment and a fast flow of patients in the emergency department.

Overview, coordination and awareness of all patients is vital to the success of the new departments and to achieving the increase in patient flow and quality. Those needs are similar to challenges faced by Inpatient Wards, Recovery Units and Operation Theatres in Denmark, where a new concept was introduced a few years earlier – the concept of Clinical Logistics.

Clinical Logistics is a broad term for IT solutions that support the managing of patient and workflows in the hospital. Overview is key and is typically achieved by displaying in- and outbound patient flow data on large touchscreens and workstation monitors. Depending on the Clinical Logistics solution coordinators and Flowmasters can also overview additional information about the staff on-call and keep up to date with the planned patient treatments and surgery schedules in their own or across multiple departments.

 

“Depending on the Clinical Logistics solution coordinators and Flowmasters can also overview additional information about the staff on-call.”

 

However, it is the interactive tools inherent to most Clinical Logistic solutions that make the general concept truly unique. From a variety of platforms, including mobile devices, coordinators and healthcare professionals can update and adjust the patient information, treatment plans, and surgery schedules, and assign activity and patient responsibilities. Advanced solutions even allow users to order beds, cleaning and patient transports directly from the user interface to promote collaboration and ensure a better patient experience. Consequently, healthcare professionals are offered a single entry to a variety of tools that support the coordination of the daily tasks and thereby ensure a more structured patient flow.

The idea behind Clinical Logistics is that information, knowledge, and system updating should not be handled by a single individual or teams located far from the patients, but instead be carried out by the patient responsible healthcare professionals, who are far better informed about the current situation in the departments.

 

“As communication and collaboration are at the core of most Clinical Logistics solutions the information is typically shared instantly across the entire system.”

 

As communication and collaboration are at the core of most Clinical Logistics solutions the information is typically shared instantly across the entire system, alerting the clinical and supporting staff of the changes. In addition, integrations with third-party systems such as ambulance systems, the Electronic Medical Record, booking systems, and patient administration systems, provide even more information from the Clinical Logistics system, limiting the need for multiple system sign-ins, and resulting in more efficient workflows.