It's About Time

While other industries have made a science out of time and demand management, healthcare still has a long way to go.

For many businesses, the core component of their business model is demand management. Go to any fast food drive-thru, fly Southwest, or send your package in time for it to arrive by Christmas Day and you'll see what I mean. The value proposition is that they will deliver you, their product or service, or your package on time.

Sick Care is not listening, but many have been talking.

"More than a decade ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report called, “Crossing the Quality Chasm,” which identified six fundamental aims for healthcare — that it be safe, effective, patient-centered, efficient, equitable, and timely. While the first five objectives are easily understandable and have been studied extensively – the concept of time has only recently become an area of focus. And yet the implications of time are significant because it impacts a patient’s experience if they are waiting in the ED for a bed; it impacts hospital operations if rooms and equipment aren’t accessible or staff members are being over or under-utilized; and it impacts the ability to use data to react to operational trends."

The IOM suggests 1) forecasting demand, 2) balancing supply with demand, 3) creating the infrastructure to monitor supply and demand and 4) continuous quality improvement.

When that happens, the first case in the OR gets started on time, emergency patients are no longer diverted to other hospitals, you don't sit in the ER for 4 hours, and the halls are not filled with gurneys waiting for an in-patient bed. It's about time.