From the patients standpoint Process improvement may seem like a myth in healthcare. Every person I have met has stories about inefficiencies in the hospital. So bad are the problems that the affordable healthcare requires certain levels of performance for full reimbursement. Many hospitals are scrambling to meet requirements of “Door to Doc” or “Doc to Admit” because they are not even close.
Change to the healthcare environment is difficult because of the many interrelated elements. Changes are made and often no improvement is observed or it gets worst. Simulation provides a comprehensive method to experiment with interrelationships arising from the following:
- Patient arrival times and volumes
- Types of patients
- Schedules for resources
- Resource quantities (doctors, LPN, clerical, etc.)
- Shared resources (lab, radiology, etc.)
- Availability of services
- Process steps/changes
- Parallel processing
- Dedication of rooms to specific services
One innovative architectural firm has been using simulation to scientifically show the effects of proposed improvements. They can show clients why changes will work before a dime is spent changing the real system. This firm gains the trust of the client by demonstrating how to improve processes, which leads to larger, comprehensive changes and eventually to entire new facilities.