Monday, May 1, 2017

Patient Throughput- The New Holy Grail of Medicine

Maximizing patient throughput may be the new Holy Grail of hospital medicine. I hear a lot of talk about patient throughput, almost on a daily basis. Throughput First! Seemingly the sacred tenet of modern hospital medicine, after first do no harm. 

Maximizing throughput will require robust, evidence based standardization- including safety checklists, safety huddles, interdisciplinary rounds, and ensuring the availability of appropriate case management and support teams (example staffing the floors with social workers and making invasive procedure floor teams available 7 days a week).

This is not a pipe dream. A recent article on patient throughput in the ICU highlights that a structured process can maximize efficiency and not compromise safety.

All of this takes time, effort, accountability, institutional will and money. How could it not? Cutting costs and cutting corners will result in harm.

The resources must match our aspirational goals.

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