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Learning Team Operations Management Plan

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Learning Team Operations Improvement Plan Evans Oniha, R.N. Eugene Hardin, MD Angela Tatum Lennis Fareed University of Phoenix MGT554: Operations Management Group GA04MBA03F Professor Teodur Sauca, MBA April 27, 2005 Learning Team Operations Management Plan The problem of emergency department overcrowding has become an important issue for many emergency departments throughout the city and county of Los Angeles. Patients frequently have to wait hours just to get into the emergency department to be seen by a physician or other healthcare professionals. The problem does not seem to be getting better as times goes on, but indeed studies seem to indicate that the condition is growing worse. At a local Los Angeles County Hospital (King Drew Medical Center) emergency department, we found that the problem is especially severe. Patients are forced to wait as long as 8-12 hours to be seen and treated by physicians. This paper will propose a plan that will help to alleviate this critical problem of emergency department overcrowding and long patients waits for services. Problem Statement There is a nationwide shortage of emergency room space and an increased demand for emergency services. Public health officials, hospital executives, and doctors are increasingly concerned about emergency department ''boarding," because of the potential impact on both patient safety and staff burnout (Kowalczyk, 2005). Our paper will attempt to solve the problem of emergency department overcrowding and long waiting times. We propose to first create a flow chart of present operations from the beginning of the emergency department visit to the discharge or admission of the patient. We believe that the process can be analyzed and changed in a way that improvement can be accomplished by improving efficiency and flow of traffic through the emergency department processes. Null Hypothesis Our study attempts to identify a serious problem at a local Los Angeles County Hospital that appears to have plausible solutions. Looking at other similar hospitals throughout the nation and abroad, it appears that restructuring and appropriate panning may help to alleviate long patients' waits for services. ...read more.


Some consultants are off-campus and hence cannot get to the emergency department in a timely manner. Our plan will change this process and get consultants to the scene in a timely manner. X-ray Studies Getting timely x-rays and scans has been a perennial problem for the emergency department and we will offer the solution to this problem as well. There are no designated employees to transport patients to and from the emergency room. Our team will propose a process that will alleviate this problem and decrease the time of this process. There are frequently no radiologists on campus to read scans and x-rays once they have been done by the technicians. Laboratory Studies Laboratory data is essential to evaluate emergency patients. Laboratory data is frequently delayed thereby causing a longer time before the physician can make a pivotal decision. We will recommend processes that will enhance and improve the turnaround time for laboratory data. There are frequently no employees designated to transport laboratory samples from the emergency department to the laboratory. This slows the process and delays the return of laboratory results to the physician (See Appendix__). The Admissions Process This is a complicated process that occurs after the physician has completed the initial emergency department work-up and the patient has been seen and accepted for admission by the consultant physician. This process involves the admission office where there exists a tremendous amount of inefficiency, which our team will offer a plan to correct this process. A resident physician must call the admission office and argue with a clerk in order to be given an inpatient bed. If the clerk does not feel that this admission is appropriate she will deny the bed and it becomes almost impossible for the physician to gain the admission. This is a flawed process and we will offer the fix for this problem. Once a patient has been given a bed, the patient is prepared for admission and the ER nurse notifies the receiving nurse and the patient is taken to the empty. ...read more.


It is believed based upon observations that patients who are discharged may spend 6-8 hours in the ER. Our proposal will attempt to shorten that total time to 2-4 hours. This can be accomplished by providing for more nurses and physicians during the peak hours of the day, which is usually the evening shift. This recommendation will be costly but may be offset by increased efficiency and the processing of more patients through the ER. Moreover, the proposed triaged process should route more patients to the urgent care area where the waiting times are shorter. Conclusions The Emergency Process is a critical process for any hospital. Short wait times and a positive experience represent important drivers of patient satisfaction, while inefficient processes that cannot handle peak demand can result in lost revenues and poor community image, not to mention concern over patient safety. The Emergency Process also represents an excellent place to launch a major change initiative. It has clear boundaries while involving a number of departments, and provides a good first experience at developing the cross-functional change management framework and techniques necessary to drive change through the hospital enterprise more broadly (Wilson, 2004). Patients who leave the emergency department without being seen represent both lost revenue and a failure to successfully fulfill the hospital mission-with potential safety implications. In addition, poor patient satisfaction due to long wait times and overcrowding will almost certainly cause lost future revenues as some patients choose to go elsewhere. We believe that the processes involving triaging, registration evaluation, treatment, admission and discharge of patients is an important part of the emergency department and is very much delayed using the present processes. Our proposal will attempt to correct each aspect of the entire process thereby creating a more efficient flow of patients through the emergency department. With our proposal the overall time patient spend in the ER was higher than the national average as recommended by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (www.jcaho.org). This process would also have a positive fiscal impact inasmuch as money will be made and expenses reduced by a more efficient process. ...read more.

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