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February 06, 2011
From the January/February 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Optimized work flow
Facility design and optimizing workflow can also be powerful levers to improve quality and cost-effectiveness in patient care. If existing workflow patterns are suboptimal, there may be an opportunity to redesign a work space with a process-driven approach and simulation modeling. By focusing on the interaction of clinical workflow, technology, and facility design, imaging departments can plan for greater efficiency. A thorough understanding of how to best arrange space in the department’s existing location, can help to reduce unnecessary motions for clinicians and patients.

For the in-house hospital network, the CT and MR departments redesigned their workspace in a way that resulted in a reduction of 500 hours of wasted staff time. These lost hours represented a wasted opportunity to care for more patients. By reorganizing the layout of the department, this center reduced the number of steps technologists took daily by 62 percent. Evaluating and optimizing the arrangement of assets in the radiology department can save technologist and radiologist time and resources, and grow the rate at which patients are seen. In this way, optimizing workflow allows for the department to understand where they could most benefit from new equipment, and can steer strategic purchasing decisions.

This hospital network successfully realized costs savings in the millions by stepping back, analyzing inefficiencies and addressing issues of device utilization, patient flow and department layout. The organization has positioned itself to see a larger patient population, representing an additional revenue source for the network. When deciding how to approach the next purchase in the radiology department, the team is poised to make the best use of new technologies because processes are streamlined and highly efficient.

Paul Amberg is the senior manager, asset management solutions for GE Healthcare. He has worked for several large health systems in Florida and Wisconsin, serving as an administrative director for imaging services. Prior to his current role, he worked with GE Commercial Finance. Amberg originally trained as a nuclear medicine technologist. After earning his RT, he went on to earn BS and MBA degrees. He has been a member of AHRA since 1986.

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