Recent Changes Lead to More Efficient Cardiac Short Stay Unit

When a heart event occurs – or worse, a full-on attack – hospital cardiac units need to remain a viable and effective recovery option. This is especially true for units intended for short patient stays, as only so many beds are available at any given time. Sometimes they’re all full due to ever-climbing demand for local healthcare services, so turnaround times must be well-optimized to handle the influx of cardiac patients in need of a place to stay. 

Recently, a partnership between Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario, and Medtronic Integrated Health Solutions has addressed this issue. Let’s find out how these teams banded together to make their cardiac short stay unit (CSSU) more efficient than ever. 

It all Started with a Workshop

An IHS workshop, back in June 2019, indicated that CSSU workflow and performance could be improved, therefore minimizing the number of delays or even cancellations. A customized solution was proposed to the Southlake RHC cardiac unit team, which sought to overhaul budget, staffing, and other departmental efficiencies for the better. Admissions were a particular focus of the IHS Project Manager and team, as improving patient flow in and out would streamline operations further.

Changes to Post-Admission Waiting and Bay Utilization

The primary issue with the Southlake CSSU was that inpatients and outpatients were being sent to gather in bays with few available beds, which meant that capacity filled earlier in the day. This caused a number of delays and other complications. The outpatient population was particularly troublesome to manage, as it accounted for 70 percent of the unit’s daily activity. Rather than be placed in a dedicated bay, outpatients were diverted to a dedicated waiting area after they were admitted and prior to their medical procedure. That way, those who had completed surgery or other procedures could be placed in the newly freed-up bay spaces. 

Findings

As a direct result of these tweaks, CSSU capacity could be reduced by up to 50 percent on any given day, helping inpatient and outpatient traffic not only flow more seamlessly but be more effectively managed. This represents an ability for unit staff to assist more admissions in a single day than before, reducing the number of delays or other complications. In addition, an analysis of the overall workflow helped the Southlake RHC team remove cumbersome processes or unnecessary extra steps that detracted from performance. 

By working together to optimize not only how we work but where we place patients at different levels of service, it’s possible to make CSSU operations more efficient, beneficial, and higher-rated by patients and staff members alike. Without care and consideration, healthcare teams could miss out on drastic improvements to day-to-day performance, so don’t be afraid of welcoming beneficial, informed, and meaningful change!

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