How to reduce patient wait times in outpatient clinics

Patient waiting time reduction & process improvement
Solutions for reducing patient waiting times in hospitals, specialty clinics

Hospital workflow tracking & reducing patient wait times in outpatient clinics, and emergency departments- The client, is a leading nonprofit eye hospital based with 5 outpatient centers across the country and treating over 1000 outpatients every day. Due to the sheer volume of outpatient patient inflow, it is increasingly becoming difficult for the operations team to deliver a superlative patient experience, ensuring patient safety by measuring patient waiting times and sending alerts to concerned departments for corrective actions.

Reducing waiting times in outpatient clinics

Overcrowding in certain departments, patient workflow tracking, nursing staff workflow, wheelchair tracking, and portable medical equipment location are matters of concern. The same with regular housekeeping, repairs, preventive maintenance tracking, and inspections which need to be taken up on a regular basis and need to be tracked regularly for hospital waiting time statistics. hospital employee tracking has an impact on patient safety and experience, especially in casualty and operation theatre departments.

The departments covered include the hospital front office, pharmacy, central stores, operation theater, optical shop, counselors, medical wards, laboratory, secretary desk, and billing to compute KPI for patient waiting time. Measuring hospital workflow in surgical departments is part of their key priorities, as in Africa, many of the hospitals and clinics had no measurement methods for measuring patient wait times, resulting in patients having to wait for hours, or being made to run from pillar to post in order to complete the procedures and emergency room wait time tracker for improving the wait time to triage at the emergency department.

Patient wait time analysis

Tracking patient workflow in a hospital, nursing rounds in wards, and housekeeping workflow in hospitals can immensely help in improving patient experience, reducing risks, and improving productivity. Implementing a robust IOT for hospitals can help increase the competitive advantage, simply by looking at the operational matrices from patient waiting time analysis using workflow optimisation for patient engagement.

Ripples IOTwearables for measuring patient wait times
RTLS healthcare devices

Reducing patient wait times in outpatient clinics

Nursing care is a critical aspect of any hospital. Ensuring hygiene, medical rounds, attendance, tracking locations, availability inwards during emergencies, training, and development, etc, are factors that help in improving patient experience though well monitored hospital workflow processes.

Our modules and solutions have been designed keeping in mind the workforce in the healthcare sector. Our hospital indoor positioning system is able to analyze the position data from our asset tags in order to provide concerned departments with real-time information that could help them optimize resource activities and improve their productivity, besides reducing waiting time to deliver a positive patient experience, online appointment scheduling & queue management.

For example, one dashboard indicator is the number of visits made by hospital staff to various departments and also the duration of such visits. Again any deviation from standard procedures would result in alerts being sent to the concerned floor supervisor in order to take corrective measures and prepare patient waiting time questionnaires accordingly.

Location movement matrices of hospital staff are also provided by the platform which will help notify those in charge, regarding any violations or deviations from the daily routine of the workforce. Alerts and notifications are sent in case staff or visitor moves into restricted emergency departments of the hospital.

Our solution is also being used here to assign healthcare workflows to various members of the hospital staff including nurses, housekeeping, and maintenance technicians, helping them to adhere to hospital protocols and health standards that are globally accepted. This enables the hospital to adhere to various compliances and benchmarks that exist in the healthcare sector. RFID solutions for tracking linen, laboratory specimen, and surgical items to improve patient safety.

RTLS in healthcare & Asset Tracking in hospitals

Asset tracking in hospitals can improve equipment utilization and reduce maintenance costs. For hospitals, knowing where their assets are is essential for business operations. High-value assets like IV pumps, heart monitors, personal protective equipment (PPE), syringe pumps, oxygen cylinders, etc. need to be located instantly when an emergency situation occurs. Having visibility to the location of these assets can simplify the workflow and save a lot of time. Beyond the tracking, robust management of assets can be achieved including asset repair/ maintenance and asset utilization.

Assets are tagged which provides location information while entering a defined “zone”. This will help in monitoring various parameters like current location, total time spent in a zone, entry/exit times, etc. Even low-value assets like wheelchairs and associated workers, medical stretchers, causality bed occupancy, etc. can also be tracked efficiently.

Patient wait times tracking

In order to utilize the workforce effectively, tracking their location and working hours is very important. The presence of emergency department Doctors, nurses, and other staff needs to be monitored continuously to ensure the right amount of services are delivered to the patients and visitors. This will help the hospital management to run the operations seamlessly, implementing Effective patient triage systems & introducing Self-service kiosks for check-in and registration.

Also, patients can be tracked in case of emergency and if they are visiting the right department for services, understanding queues for various services, and providing emergency support where needed.

Battery-powered anchors (repeaters, the size of a soapbox) are placed in areas to be monitored and can be converted into reading zones. Whenever the tagged employee comes to the anchor’s vicinity, automatic data collection will happen and the location can be easily identified. By defining zones, we can prevent unauthorized access as well. Any unauthorized entry will trigger alerts.

Hospital Crowd Management

Uncontrolled crowding in the hospital causes headaches for management. Easily monitor the number of patients outside Doctors’ cabins, pharmacies, etc. If the allowed limit is breached an alert will be sent to the concerned staff. This helps in efficient crowd control and social distancing.

Measuring Patient Waiting Times in surgical departments

 Effectively monitor the patient waiting times in different surgical departments such as orthopedics and cardiology. Alerts will be sent to concerned staff if a predefined patient waiting time exceeds in a specific department or area for a patient is over. Management can take necessary actions which will enhance patient experience significantly to reduce patient waiting time in the emergency department

Intruder Detection, Restricted zone Entry Monitoring

Using PIR sensors intruder detection can be enabled. Whenever an entry to the restricted area by an untagged person occurs, an alert will be sent to the concerned staff. Also, these sensors help in detecting rodents in areas like server rooms which can prevent damaging electronic devices. 

Similarly, we can define restricted areas using anchors. When an unassigned tagged person enters the area (server room, accounts, medicine storage, etc.), the alerting system will notify management immediately.

Hospital cold chain Storage Monitoring

In healthcare, there are items that need to be maintained at the proper temperature in order to increase the life span. Medication, vaccines, blood, and supplies are items that need proper temperature control. Any deviation in the ideal temperature may cause damage to these items and end in loss of money for the hospitals and a threat to patient safety.

Temperature, Humidity, distance, and pressure sensors will be placed inside the storage unit to continuously monitor the environmental conditions. Any deviation from the ideal temperature will trigger an alert and the concerned authority can take necessary actions.

Hospital Housekeeping Monitoring

Ensure housekeeping staff is visiting areas to be cleaned on time using tags. Monitor the complete movement of staff throughout the premise to know unauthorized entry to unassigned departments. A well-managed housekeeping system will enhance the patient experience as well.

Reduce theft/Equipment Misuse in hospitals

Using antitheft movement sensors, theft can be reduced. Whenever a theft attempt occurs, accelerometer triggers and alerts will be generated immediately. This will help management to reduce theft and take necessary actions through facilities management

IOT platform for hospitals

A facility, located on a sprawling 5-acre campus has three blocks, for outpatient consulting,  cataract laser treatment, operation theatre, and administration. The outpatient wing is spread over 40,000 sq. feet and has a Bluetooth mesh network deployed, giving an indoor location tracking accuracy ranging from 2.5 meters to 10 meters. Patients are given sanitized Bluetooth beacons at the time of entering the premises to track their movement within the eye hospital premises. RFID readers – fixed and handheld versions and deployed at various locations such as waiting areas, and billing counters to cross-check the patient workflow.

Call us to know more about our IOT webinar events 2023,  iot healthcare projects, RTLS healthcare deployments, surgical workflow tracking, patient waiting time alerts, experience management, hospital workflow tracking, and nursing workflow systems.