ACF streamlines patient flow and reduces patient wait times by automating patient reception and tracking procedures at Evans Army Community Hospital.
The computer-based system has been successfully tested and used at Fort Carson’s Robinson Family Medicine Clinic since 2009. It is also in use or being fielded at over 13 Army and Navy installations including Joint Base Lewis- McChord and Forts Riley, Benning, and Drum, and at Fort Sam Houston, as well as civilian hospitals throughout the United States.
“We’re always looking for new and better methods to improve our patients’ healthcare experience,” said hospital Commander Col. Jimmie 0. Keenan.
“We expect the new Q-Flow system to reduce all our patients’ wait times.” Q-Flow automates patient reception and tracking procedures. It provides the hospital staff with visual cues to supplement patient care and employs “kiosks,” scanners and live dashboard displays to more efficiently process and track patients.
“The new system is a central component to efficient lobby management. Queuing patients into the system as they arrive helps manage the patient flow process,” said EACH’s Q-Flow’s proponent Eric Everard. “It also allows us to establish accessible metrics, determine inefficiencies, identify best practices and optimize clinic resources to improve each patient’s experience.”
Everard said its other benefits include centralized control and recording currently unknown patient processing times that hospital leaders will use to improve service quality and accuracy throughout the hospital. It also provides patients and staff with real-time information through audio and visual announcements on televisions and computers.
The EACH Pharmacy Laboratory Emergency Department, and Soldier Family Care Center have the new systems. While the U.S. Army Medical Command funded the EACH installations, the Army’s Health Facilities Planning Agency funded the 10 Kiosks and 15 flat screen televisions in the SFCC. Q-Flow will eventually be installed in all hospital waiting areas.
When arriving at a clinic, the patient signs in at a computer kiosk that prints out a ticket. The ticket number identifies a beneficiary category and the patient’s place in line within that category. Warrior Transition Battalion and other Active Duty Soldiers, Same Day Surgery, Discharge, and Emergency Room patients have priority at the Pharmacy and Laboratory. Regardless of category, a patient’s place in line is secured after waiting five minutes. Everard said the intent is to ensure that all patients receive timely care.
Under the hospital’s Clinical lnformatics Branch’s supervision, three University of Colorado at Colorado Springs intern students documented the Q-Flow related processes in August 2010. Everard said this helped the CIB develop hospital staff and patient focused Q-Flow Standard Operating Procedures. Every school semester, UCCS interns continue to assist with process improvement initiatives.
Authored by: Roger Meyer
Published by: William Beaumont Army Medical Center