NHS England is facing a critical shortage of hospital beds, with less than half of the total capacity from 30 years ago now unavailable. While the number of beds have declined, the number of patients treated has significantly increased. The UK has just 2.4 hospital beds per 1,000 people, well below the OECD EU average (shown in the graph below).
Patient flow is being impacted by challenges associated with the management of resources such as estates, beds, and people, as evidenced by the increasing proportion of patients waiting 4+ hours for ED admission. One example is the contribution of avoidable admissions to the capacity issues, and as of last December, an average of 13,364 beds were occupied daily by patients who didn’t meet the criteria to reside in hospital.
Frontline NHS teams need access to digital tools to proactively manage demand and enhance resource allocation in order to support UEC recovery. The NHS presented a National Urgent and Emergency Care Recovery Plan, prioritising long-term digital solutions, like the electronic Bed Capacity Management System (eBCMS), to enable optimised capacity management.
The aim of the Winter 2023 eBCMS Programme is;
‘to ensure every patient is allocated to the right bed first time and that no patient waits for admission or discharge any longer than is clinically necessary.’
From Ward to Board
Alcidion provides trusts with an at-a-glance view of key activities that facilitate operations both within and outside the hospital, while also offering decision support to enhance patient, site, and system flow.
- Patient flow – Improving each patients stay – right bed first time, smoother transfers, minimised delays.
- Site Flow – real-time visibility of the whole hospital site(s) or system, optimising bed and resource utilisation
- System Flow – Connecting data to wider Health and Care Coordination Centres targeting resources and managing whole pathway Demand, Capacity and Recovery.
Alcidion’s FHIR-based platform overlays and integrates with existing systems investments to ensure suitability for trusts or ICSs at any stage of digital maturity and support future digital ambitions. The platform, Miya Precision, consolidates data from a range of systems (e.g. ambulance data) and then securely shares information across health and care systems, providing real-time visibility of capacity and demand.
Our modular approach allows organisations to address specific patient flow challenges, like reducing administrative burdens, resolving bottlenecks, and improving care coordination and communication. This flexibility helps trusts optimise data management despite resource constraints, while accommodating their specific workflows and requirements.
Key capabilities include:
- Electronic Patient Journey Boards with real-time access to patient, ward, site, and trust bed status supports data-driven decisions and can be viewed and updated ‘on the go’ via a range of devices.
- Automated clinical task allocation (e.g. nurse requesting clinical review), and logistics (e.g. porter request) to prioritise, sequence and track action status until complete fosters better coordination between teams.
- Predictive analytics and performance reporting enhance trusts’ ability to manage operations and strategic control centres.
- Cloud-first technology enables rapid deployment and configuration within weeks so clinical and administrative teams can achieve time to value.
For two decades, Alcidion has assisted hospitals in optimising patient flow. Our technology, including bed allocation and automated communication systems, delivers tangible value by enhancing visibility, care coordination and, as a result, patient outcomes.
“The mobile technology is a godsend on ward rounds and has helped improve patient flow in and out of the ward, making discharges more evident and timely. I love it and wouldn’t be without it now.” - Sarah Donnelly, Charge Nurse, MidCentral District Health Board
“Alcidion’s journey boards have enabled us to make sure that 100% of our patients have an estimated date of discharge recorded and that helps wards to make sure discharge dates are met, which, in turn, helps to address the huge pressure we are under.” - Previous Director of Digital Transformation at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust
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