Improving Health System Efficiency with Command Centres

Health system performance is always in focus as the demand on healthcare services continues to grow. This will be amplified over the next decade as the baby boomer generation (born between 1946-1964) start to reach their 80s. The COVID 19 pandemic has introduced another substantial demand shock to the system. With increased hospitalisations at the same time as capacity challenges due to staff self-isolation or secondment to other services such as vaccination, many hospitals are operating at or beyond capacity, reporting code yellows in Australia or code black in the UK indicating that there are no available beds for new admissions.

Recent examples include four major North Queensland hospitals and two large Scottish Highlands hospitals.

Some hospitals which may not be reporting a code yellow or black status are regularly showing signs of blockages in the system as evidenced by frequent reporting of ambulance ramping due to emergency department overcrowding.

Talking with many of Alcidion’s existing and prospective customers there is a common theme – many are struggling with making effective use of their existing capability and resources.

Effective patient flow

Effective patient flow requires a whole of system approach which optimises patient movement and resource coordination from the front door of the Emergency Department through to discharge to the community.

Many hospitals including those who have made significant investments in electronic medical records struggle with managing this delicate orchestration. Some may compare it to what is required to operate a manufacturing assembly line but there is much more complexity as many large hospitals may be managing up to one thousand patients with varied urgency and treatment requirements. The Patient Flow Coordinators, Bed Managers and Hospital Executive generally need to carry out very manual and labour intensive processes to gain an understanding of where their system is struggling so that they can take action to address the issues and improve overall performance.

This lack of visibility of what each hospital, ward and unit is dealing with makes it difficult for administrators and the entire care team to prioritise and deliver healthcare in the most efficient manner possible.

Introducing a Hospital Command Centre

A Hospital Command Centre is a bit like NASA mission control which is designed to coordinate all aspects of a space mission. It is a dedicated facility in the healthcare organisation which uses real-time analytics on the current state of the hospital and forecast movement of patients into, through and out of the service. It often co-locates a multi-disciplinary team to focus on this delicate orchestration of both clinical and logistical resources.

The positive outcomes delivered by a Command Centre approach include:

  • Improved patient outcomes through centralised coordination of care and un-necessary delays
  • Hospital efficiency by maximising bed capacity and reducing length of stay
  • Optimised utilisation of all types of resources
  • Improved coordination with partner hospitals internal and external to the organisation
  • Enhanced patient and staff satisfaction arising from a streamlined process

Miya Command

Miya Command is a series of hospital command centre dashboards that draw on information already captured electronically in the organisation including;

  • Patient administration system
  • Emergency department system
  • Electronic medical record
  • Patient flow systems
  • Clinical documentation systems
  • Transport systems and more . . .

The system synthesises and analyses the information into a series of intuitive dashboards designed to facilitate the operation of a command centre.

The increased visibility and real time understanding of capacity, including constraints and surpluses, enables the many benefits outlined above for both the health organisation and individual patients. Hospitals implementing such solutions have reported reductions in average length of stay and an overall effective increase in capacity without requiring expensive expansion of facilities and staff.

Miya Command can be deployed into your organisation by integrating with your existing systems or supercharged by also deploying Alcidion’s Patient Flow and Bed Management solutions (Miya Flow and Miya Access) which are tightly integrated and present a unified representation of the overall status.

Command Centre everywhere

Miya Command is not limited to the specific command centre operation. In fact many of our customers deploy our “Hospital at a Glance” dashboard in each ward of the hospital. This visual access to enterprise information enables the entire organisation to have a shared view of the current hospital state. The shared understanding promotes much greater awareness of each team members contribution to the system as a whole and the potential to streamline care for the patient.

Clinical and Logistical

Miya Command includes both clinical and logistical information to support the care team. For example, when paired with Miya Observations the display can include dashboards to track deteriorating patients across the organisation. When combined with Miya Logic – Alcidion’s clinical decision support engine – it enables detecting and flagging patients with clinical risks such as Bleeding Risk or Hyperkalaemia enabling the care team to respond to emerging risks quickly and efficiently. The information captured in Miya Access supports a proactive approach to bed allocation and management.

Your Command Centre Partner

Alcidion has deep experience implementing command centres across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Our global team draws on a wide range of experiences implementing these in various types of healthcare organisations. Get in touch if you would like to find out more about how we can help your organisation maximise its performance.

Sam Blight is a Senior Product Manager at Alcidion