MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
Crothall Healthcare Patient Transport Division has redefined “patient experience” in hospital settings, with processes that build value into every patient interaction while promoting a productive environment for their clients and staff. MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, an urban 278-bed Level I trauma center in north-central Baltimore, Maryland, has built productivity and trust with a dedicated team of Crothall managers and transport professionals while emphasizing its strengths as a health care provider.
The quality and quantity of transport went up in the hospital’s busy 30-bed emergency department (ED). In 2012, the request for transport to arrive within 10 minutes was below 67%. By the third quarter of 2015, the same request had risen to an average of 84% response, dramatically increasing improvement to patient throughput from the ED.
The result was 12,000 additional annual patient transport trips with the same number of transport staff. Patient transports trips volume rose from 111, 000 in 2012 to over 123, 000 trips in 2015. The improvements are primarily from decreasing the number of delayed trips, which has fallen from 12% to below 3%, improving over 9000 on-time transport trips, allowing for a significant increase in additional patients being transported.
This improvement impacted the emergency department’s patient throughput. Reductions in delays, increase in patient transport trip volumes as well as fewer non-transport staff such as nurses and technicians spending time on transport needs has saved money and time. “We appreciate Crothall’s Patient Transport partnering with us and the positive impact they have made,” said Nancy Cimino, Emergency Department Director at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital.
“The commitment Crothall has made to Union Memorial Hospital gives us the true sense of partnership that we experience.” - Neil A. MacDonald, Vice President Operations, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
The situation at MedStar Union required a fresh look. Patient Transporters were often used in a decentralized transport model in the ED, with one staff member stationed to receive manual requests, reducing staff work hours and trip volume. This led to delays in transporting patients and gaps in the accuracy of reporting. Requests for transport often lacked details such as isolation orders and procedural requirements.
The best ideas came from cooperation. Crothall managers worked to improve trust between clinical and transport teams by observing the ED and collecting opinions and information about day-to-day operations. This process laid the foundation for future buy-in to improved processes.
By the Numbers
12,000 Additional Patient Transport Trips Without Increasing Transport Staff
9 Percent Decrease in Delayed Trips Improved Over 9,000 Transport Trips
The Perfect Practice
New procedures unlocked the ED’s potential. Transport managers centralized the ED’s request and dispatch processes so all clinicians could request their patient transport needs from a single dispatcher with a “pool” of available transport professionals. Staff expectations slowly shifted from paper requests to telephone orders, succeeded by computer entry. “It was important to let people know we weren’t taking their resource away,” said Chris Broadway, Crothall Director of Patient Transportation at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. “We were giving them access to all of our resources.”
“The patient transport team fosters strong working relationships with our nurse managers, which is essential in ensuring success,” said MacDonald. “The department leaders say they make sure people have patients ready because they know our people move fast,” said Broadway.
New positive expectations spread like good news. Clinical staff made it through the transition to making their own requests with grace, dropping the habit of ordering a trip early due to poor expectations of timeliness. Crothall was confident enough to institute delay times, cancelling requests if patients have not prepared within five minutes.
Reporting enlightens staff and makes future improvements easier. The increased speed and detail in data entry from clinical and transport staff has added optimization of transport and data reporting options at MedStar Union. Transporters get a more precise image of patient flow so modifications to processes are easier to make and understand.
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