Christiana Care optimizes enterprise patient flow with integration of patient tracking and bed management systems

Mission Viejo 04 December 2007Christiana Care Health System of Wilmington, Delaware has successfully integrated Patient Care Technology Systems'(PCTS) emergency department automatic patient tracking software with the inpatient bed management software from Premise Corporation. The interface, which was completed earlier this year at both Christiana Care acute care facilities, creates an entirely computer-based system for optimizing patient flow from the time patients enter the emergency department through to patient placement. Christiana Care Health System includes Christiana Hospital and Wilmington Hospital with emergency departments that collectively treated over 150.000 patients in 2006.


Emergency departments can experience significant patient flow bottlenecks when seeking to admit patients because of the difficulty of accurately matching available bed inventory to patient demand. Manual processes for managing and communicating bed inventory needs and available supply can unnecessarily lengthen the time a patient remains in the emergency department until a bed request is filled.

This in turn reduces the emergency department's capacity to treat other patients. A study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2006 found that 55 percent of patient admissions to community hospitals originate in the emergency department. Improving the process of requesting and fulfilling inpatient bed needs from the emergency department and the management of bed inventory can therefore impact a significant share of patient flow within a hospital.

In 2004, Christiana Hospital implemented the Amelior EDTracker system from PCTS to automate the tracking and orchestration of patient flow within its emergency department. Real-time location data is collected using wireless personnel and equipment tags which identify their location through a sensory network. Tags use infrared, radio frequency or ultrasound positioning signals. The tracking software receives the real-time location data and then analyses location, movement and interactions between patients, staff and equipment by applying work flow process rules. These rules recognize and communicate patient care milestones as they occur without staff manually updating patient location and status information. In 2006, Wilmington Hospital implemented the Amelior EDTracker system.

Since integrating the emergency department automatic tracking software, Christiana Care has improved its ability to manage patient flow resulting in reductions in patient visit length, patient walkouts and improvements in patient and staff satisfaction. Similarly, upon implementing Premise Corporation's bed management and bed-turnover solutions, Christiana Care has streamlined patient flow at an enterprise level by improving bed turnover times and increasing overall bed utilization.

Earlier this year Christiana Care interfaced the two systems together at both of its hospitals to expand the scope of its enterprise patient flow orchestration. Bed request information is now shared electronically between the two systems eliminating phone calls and other manual interventions. Upon receipt of the time-stamped bed request, hospital staff can utilize the real-time status information on bed inventory within the bed management software to match to the specific needs of each patient as communicated through the tracking software.

Information is automatically updated as bed assignments are made to maintain a complete and real-time record of inventory. More significantly, clinical work flows are supported with real-time visualization of patient flow for the entire patient visit starting with their entry to the emergency department until the patient leaves the hospital. Within each system, real-time dashboards of key operating metrics and powerful reporting engines provide business intelligence and data analytics.

"We are pleased to integrate our emergency department patient tracking and bed management software systems", stated Chris Konen, information services project manager for both Christiana Care implementations. "Individually, both systems improve patient flow with real-time information that helps staff to anticipate and manage their work flow. Together, we can drive patient flow through the entire continuum of a patient's hospital stay with greater efficiency. Ultimately this creates a safer and more satisfactory experience for our patients as we can better orchestrate the resources needed to support their care."

Christiana Care Health System, which dates back to 1888, is one of the region's largest not-for-profit health care providers, serving the people of Delaware as well as neighbouring areas of Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A teaching hospital, Christiana Care is recognized as a regional centre for excellence in cardiology, cancer and women's health services, as well as Level-I trauma care and Level-3 neonatal intensive care - both highest capability. Christiana Care operates two hospitals, the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, transitional care services, preventive medicine and rehabilitation services, a network of primary care physician offices and an extensive range of outpatient and home health services.

Premise Corporation is a provider of integrated and clinically-focused software solutions that optimize patient flow, streamline communications, enhance operational efficiency, and empower knowledge-based decision making. Premise optimizes the delivery of health care services by prompting work flow and facilitating the widespread use and visualization of real-time operating data. Premise offers the industry's most intuitive systems for bed placement, management and turnover; transport, environmental services, and decision support, and has been serving the health care industry for over 12 years.

Patient Care Technology Systems, a subsidiary of Consulier Engineering Inc., supports health care providers with intelligent work flow automation solutions to improve patient flow and to reduce the risk of medical errors. The company's Amelior software suite includes Amelior ED, a comprehensive emergency department information system, and automatic patient and asset tracking software for the emergency department, peri-operative suite, and enterprise-wide needs. Amelior automatic tracking software is compatible with all leading locating hardware including ultrasound, infrared, RFID, ultra-wideband, and Wi-Fi. PCTS customers have been recognized nationally for improvements in efficiency and clinical excellence. PCTS was recognized with the prestigious Blue Diamond Award for Best IT Innovation in 2007.

More news about Premise and Patient Care Technology Systems is available in the VMW May 2006 article Patient Care Technology Systems and Premise Development Corporation sign marketing alliance.

Leslie Versweyveld

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