New Joint Commission Regulations & Guidelines Focus on Throughput Efficiency & ED Boarding

As of January 1, 2014, hospitals are being held accountable by The Joint Commission to ensure they are actively measuring and establishing goals to mitigate and manage the boarding of patients admitted through the Emergency Department, with a national guideline of four hours or less.

“Research confirmed that, although the ED may be where a patient flow problem manifests in a hospital, the ED may not be the source of the problem,” according to The Joint Commission’s R3 Report.*

“For this reason,” the report continues, “elements of performance were revised and developed to enhance patient safety by addressing:

a)       The use of data and metrics to better manage patient flow as a hospital-wide concern;

b)       The safe provision of care for patients should boarding occur; and

c)       The mitigation of risks experienced by patients with psychiatric emergencies who are boarded in the ED”

This is part of a larger group of performance standards set forth by The Joint Commission in late 2012. Since January 1, 2013, The Joint Commission has required that hospitals measure, set goals, and be held accountable for key components of the throughput process, including:

  • The available supply of patient beds
  • The throughput of areas where patients receive care, treatment, and services
  • The safety of areas where patients receive care, treatment, and services
  • The efficiency of non-clinical services that support patient care (transportation, housekeeping, etc.)
  • Access to support services (such as case management and social work)

The Joint Commission now requires that the individuals who are responsible for managing patient flow establish and review measurement results to determine whether or not goals were achieved, and that “leaders,”** take action to improve processes if throughput goals are not achieved.

Standards were revised to reflect current practices regarding the use of data and metrics in identifying, monitoring, managing, and improving issues in patient flow throughout the hospital.

“Contemporary practices include increasing the use of Lean, Six Sigma, and change management strategies to improve operations and outcomes, and increasing the use of technology for integrated tracking of beds, discharges, patient status, and other care and service elements,” according to the report.

As hospitals rise to meet these new standards, they must consider how they will achieve the increased requirements of data and metrics tracking and analysis. Cutting-edge technology tools like BedWatch® Bed Control and BedWatch® Transport Control are designed to do just that.

Contact us today to learn how the BedWatch® suite of services can help your hospital achieve the new standards set forth by The Joint Commission.

*Issue 4; Published December 19, 2012

**From the R3 Report: “At a minimum, leaders include members of the medical staff and governing body, the chief executive officer and other senior managers, the nurse executive, clinical leaders, and staff members in leadership positions within the organization.”

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