We’ve all read news stories about hospital waiting times and nightmare scenarios of patients being left in beds with no clue as to what is happening? But did you know what hospitals are treating patients faster than ever? Yes, there’s no such thing as a doctor with one of those vintage mirrors on his forehead anymore. Modern medicine is much more sleek, and quite interesting too. We had a look in to it out of curiosity and it’s mind blowing what hospitals are doing nowadays.
There’s a big reason why we hear about these problems more often: more people than ever visit hospitals. In a lot (and we man a lot) of circumstances, patients visit hospitals for minor ailments that don’t really need treatment and could be a drain a resources. It creates a cyclical problem of some patients draining a hospital’s resources, and medical staff feeling as though they have to give the best care they can for every patient they see.
For some hospitals in the UK though, they’re treating people faster than ever thanks to software that is able to tell staff how to assess their patients based on live data. Oak Group Patient Flow is the creator and provider of this software. We took a look at how it works, what it does and why it can help hospitals with a patient overflow problem.
Many people don’t understand waiting times and how they can differ greatly depending on what is or could be wrong with a patient. The NHS site gives a nice overview of how waiting times are calculated. One of the most interesting parts of this guide is finding out that the “clock” assigned to a patient’s waiting time can stop depending on certain factors. Some of which include:
- Fitting a medical device
- Being monitored
- Receiving advice
These factors and many more make up the patient flow journey. This is the path someone takes form the second they enter a hospital to the second they leave and it can go in wildly different directions. We found out that software which measures how to treat someone can account for over 100 criteria options for a patient over 30 levels of care. That’s 3000 different ways of figuring out how to treat someone who comes to a hospital.
With so many options, hospital staff needs to know what level of care is best suited to help a patient in a timely manner. In the 125 hospitals time reducing software is being used in, 10% of daily admissions were able to go home after receiving treatment based on live data. That is a large percentage of patients and helps hospitals to free up their staff and resources, which can then help them to treat people much faster.
Luckily in the UK, waiting times are still very low compared to other countries, especially the United States. A recent story from The Guardian highlighted how getting to see a doctor can takes weeks or months, which is quite alarming. It’s a stark reality from some areas of the UK where another time saving initiative is in place. Some NHS hospitals in London now have cycling ambulance workers. With traffic problems in the city a big issue (which is another of those untimed factors we mentioned earlier), emergency workers can bike their way to patients in emergencies where data highlights that the patient may not have a serious injury but just a minor problem.
It’s incredible to see how hospitals are trying to treat patients faster using new methods (software) and old, but updated (bikes) techniques. These little changes are having a positive impact on waiting times and should help alleviate much of the stress the health service is under.