SOURCE: PatientFlow Technology

June 16, 2008 12:25 ET

WellStar Kennestone Hospital Achieves Dramatic Results as Operations Project With PatientFlow Technology Continues

Surgical Wait Times Drop 21%, Boosting Quality of Care, Patient Safety and Satisfaction

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - June 16, 2008) - PatientFlow Technology (www.patientflowtech.com), the leading provider of patient flow management tools and services for hospitals, today announced that the first two months of Phase I of the three-phase patient flow improvement project at WellStar Health System's Kennestone Hospital (see Press Release of 3/25/08) have produced dramatic results. Since the plan was implemented in early March, waiting times for urgent and emergent surgical patients have dropped twenty-one percent. Patients and surgeons are getting into the operating room three hours sooner, on average, than before the project began. WellStar Kennestone Hospital, WellStar's 633-bed flagship hospital, is located in Marietta, Georgia.

On March 3, 2008, WellStar Kennestone Hospital implemented a plan developed in collaboration with PatientFlow Technology, surgeons and hospital administration. The plan called for designating separate operating rooms for urgent and emergent surgical cases so that these patients can be cared for in a timely manner, without causing delays or cancellations in the day's elective surgical cases. Based on rigorous data analysis and queuing theory -- an operations management tool developed in industry and adapted by PatientFlow Technology for the hospital environment -- the plan calls for two or three of Kennestone's 20 operating rooms to be reserved for the unexpected urgent and emergent cases.

The greatest reductions in waiting times have occurred with patients who need to be operated on within four hours; these patients now get into the operating room in approximately two hours. Cases that should be performed within eight hours now typically get into the OR in about four and a half hours. And cases that need immediate attention continue to get into the OR as needed, without 'bumping' previously scheduled cases.

Dr. William Mayfield, a board-certified thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon at WellStar Kennestone Hospital, said, "The new clinically based classification system of add-ons, combined with the re-allocation of several of our ORs for add-on cases only, has significantly reduced wait times for urgent and emergent cases. In addition, improvements in scheduling mean that cases are reliably starting at the scheduled time."

Dr. Robert Holcomb, a general surgeon at Kennestone, agreed, "I used to tell my office not to schedule a noon case in my block because I knew I would never start on time. Since the implementation of the add-on rooms and truth in scheduling, I actually start on time now for my noon cases." Dr. James Malcolm, an orthopedic surgeon, added, "Surgeons were skeptical at first, but there is more flexibility with the add-on rooms and patients are getting into the OR more quickly."

"Phase One of our project with PatientFlow Technology achieved all of its goals, and so far, the next phase is off to a successful start," said Candice Saunders, SVP and hospital administrator, WellStar Kennestone Hospital. "Patients and surgeons are pleased by the improvements in wait times. Patients who need immediate surgery are getting into the OR on time; we are better able to gauge and work within our capacity. This contributes significantly to overall patient safety and satisfaction, and aligns with our commitment to offering world-class service."

"By separating urgent/emergent cases from elective ones, Kennestone has taken an innovative approach that improves the quality of care their surgeons are able to deliver by reducing waiting times, and by avoiding the need to cancel or delay elective cases," said Richard Siegrist, president and CEO of PatientFlow Technology. "Building on this success, we plan to implement Phase II this summer, which involves smoothing the elective surgical schedule in order to use hospital capacity most efficiently and ensure that patients are cared for on an appropriate nursing unit. As a result, surgeons will be able to perform more cases, fewer patients will suffer delays or cancelled procedures, quality of care will improve as patients are placed on nursing units geared for their needs, and wait times in the emergency department will decrease."

About WellStar Health System

The vision of WellStar Health System is to deliver world-class healthcare through our hospitals, physicians and services. WellStar Health System includes Cobb, Douglas, Kennestone, Paulding and Windy Hill hospitals; WellStar Physicians Group; Urgent Care Centers; Health Place; Homecare; Hospice; Atherton Place; Paulding Nursing Center; and WellStar Foundation. For more information, call 770-956-STAR or visit www.wellstar.org.

About PatientFlow Technology, Inc.

PatientFlow Technology provides tools and services for hospitals to address problems such as emergency room overcrowding, long wait times, bumped or delayed surgeries, and lack of available ICU and routine hospital beds, while concurrently improving quality of care. The company's headquarters are in Boston, Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.patientflowtech.com or call 617-358-5060.

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