Workflow Software For Hospitals
How a Quebec hospital is using a new system to better manage hospital sanitation and improve processes for patient discharges and bed transfers.
- Martin Lesage
Honoré-Mercier Hospital of CSSS Richelieu-Yamaska
The housekeeping and sanitation department at the Honoré-Mercier Hospital of CSSS Richelieu-Yamaska, just outside of Montreal, QC, Canada recently launched a new integrated software program to better manage bed transfers and discharges while preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Developed in collaboration with Laubrass Inc., the software includes an easy to read dashboard of all 267 beds in the hospital. Their sanitation staff are notified on their tablets when a room needs cleaning and whether or not extra measures are needed according to the protocol for infectious disease. Once a bed is available, it is updated in real time on the dash board, making the whole process more transparent and more efficient.
The directors in charge of housekeeping and sanitation at Honoré-Mercier Hospital were looking for a better way to manage their department and improve efficiency when it came to getting rooms cleaned and sanitized for new patients in order to accelerate bed accessibility and improve customer service.
Their existing method was that the care unit would call in on a landline when a room needed cleaning, then a team leader would page the housekeeping staff who would then need to call back in to verify start and finish times. The phone was always ringing, which would interrupt any activity that the team leader was doing Says France Le Blond, Director of Hospitality and Clinical Nutrition.
Furthermore, nurses on the units would be frustrated about housekeeping delays because they couldnt see the other priorities in different units. Data was being manually recorded in excel, and it was not easy to generate real time reports. In terms of controlling infectious disease, the team leader would need to walk the hallways and mark down any rooms with a posted sign for a specific infection. He would then log the information and inform cleaning staff when called to that room, this could cause discrepancies and was time consuming.
The team wanted to have an easy way to access real time data on discharges and transfers, they needed an effective system to measure and minimize time delays between demand and intervention. The hospital also wanted a modern tool with a transparent process that would improve communication hospital-wide and increase efficiency in controlling environment based infections.
The project managers at Honoré-Mercier Hospital searched for a software program that would meet their needs. There was nothing available on the market that fit what we were looking for said Lesage. Any solutions that they did find were not comparable in level of efficiency and transparency, or as technologically advanced, as the software proposed by Laubrass.
Having worked with Laubrass in the past, they had confidence in their services and software products. Laubrass offered to customize their UMT Flow engine to develop a tailor made hospital software solution. The result includes a real time interactive visualization dashboard that talks to their existing patient management software and utilizes modern technology to communicate with their hospital janitorial team.
Now the Honoré-Mercier Hospital is up and running with their custom healthcare software. The solution was rolled out gradually in 3 phases for the housekeeping, care units, disease control and admissions. The project encompasses over 100 employees using 40 dashboard stations and 8 task tablets*.
Each care unit has the UMT Flow program installed on their PCs. The staff from those units can notify housekeeping via the dashboard when there is a patient transfer, discharge or other cleaning need. They can also keep track of isolation measures and update infectious disease status accordingly via the dashboard.
The admissions department can now monitor bed activities in real time with the dashboard, and establish bed priorities according to the emergency ward needs.The system helps us to reduce waiting times because we can better identify the source of the hold up, and the location of where beds are available in the hospital, giving us the ability to make effective adjustments said Le Blond.
All cleaning notifications are transmitted to housekeeping employees using mobile tablets. Cleaners are automatically assigned one task at a time based on the standard priority codes given by the bed management nurse. The notifications include priority status and are coded with the disease protocols assigned by the unit. Every time a cleaner accepts, starts or finishes a task the information is sent back to the dashboard. Every dashboard user is able to follow the cleaning status in real time.
The fact that each unit can now see what is going on in other units, and knows where the cleaning staff is makes a big difference for us, it really limits the amount of extra calls coming in and creates the transparency we were looking for said Lesage.
The data related to all task activities is automatically stored in the UMT Flow data base and can be accessed by team leaders and management to easily generate comprehensive reports measuring and detailing where and how time is being spent.
Behind the housekeeping team leader in his office sits the charging station for the tablets, when asked how its working its marvelous he says.
After just months of launching the project, the hospital is already seeing process improvements. Le Blond reports that due to the work flow efficiency created with UMT Flow each cleaner can now disinfect one additional room per shift. She also described that after a recent period of influx in their emergency ward she was able to quickly pull up relevant reports to confirm housekeeping activity and use this analyses to collaborate with other departments in order to determine where delays were occurring and how to continually improve hospital flow.
The bed transfer and discharge project has come a long way since the chief coordinators Martin Lesage and France Le Blond initially sketched out an ideal dashboard on a piece of paper. Together the CSSS Richelieu-Yamaska project team along with Laubrass software engineers and healthcare consultants have developed a software solution that is exceeding expectations and can now be replicated to use in any hospital. Other provincial hospitals are already showing interest and Laubrass hopes to bring the solution to hospitals across North America.
* Honoré-Mercier Hospital chose to use Windows 8 Surface Pro Tablets, however the UMT Flow software can also work in connection with most other types of mobile devices.
Read the letter of reference sent from CSSS Richelieu-Yamaska:Letter of Reference