Huddled-Up and Wired:A Real-Time Electronic Dashboard Enhances the Oncology Patient Experience

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Patient throughput in acute care settings is critical for all patients, including inpatient oncology patients. Evidence discusses initiatives to make patient throughput more efficient, however, adoption of tactics often has limited success. Like many hospitals, in an academic Magnet® hospital with a 20-bed medical-surgical hematology/oncology unit, daily morning huddles were conducted to enhance inpatient flow. Prior to the hospitals’ transition to an integrated electronic health record (EHR), select patient information was manually gathered from disparate systems and written logs and transcribed to a white board. By huddle time, little of the information reflected what was actually happening. Implementation of a new EHR drove design of a real-time electronic dashboard which automatically populates desired metrics. The dashboard collates easily digested tables and graphs of key throughput indicators, including overall hospital and emergency department (ED) census, anticipated operating room and post-anesthesia care unit volumes, discharge orders obtained before 11 a.m., and average transport times and room cleaning times from the day before. The information is continually updated in real-time, allowing a bird’s eye view and ability to drill down into more specific data. The 30 – 40 leaders who participate in the huddle – including the hematology/oncology unit manager -- are the people who can affect change. Resultant impact has been diverse and significant. Following implementation of the electronic dashboard, with leaders able to see blockages in patient movement and react accordingly, ED diversion has been reduced to zero for over 18 months. A dashboard report showing daily discharges, the previous day’s discharge efficiency compared to the goal, and red light/green light visuals contributed to a 10% annual average increase in discharge orders written before 11 a. m. Data availability and ability to drill down also drove changes such as alternative solutions to patient placement, reduction of blocked semi-private beds, and reallocating environmental and transport staff during peak discharge times. This EHR-supported huddle received the “Most Wired-Innovator Award” from Hospitals and Health Networks magazine. Key takeaways from this presentation by the hematology/oncology manager are knowledge of the huddle infrastructure and processes. Emphasis will be on electronic real-time dashboard reports which impact oncology patient throughput to enhance oncology care delivery, such as assuring bed availability for elective inpatient chemotherapy.


Leadership/Management/Education poster Session.


Patient Care Services / Nursing, Patient Care Services / Nursing Faculty

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