SOURCE: PatientFlow Technology

June 24, 2008 09:00 ET

WellStar Kennestone Hospital Continues to Achieve Dramatic Results in Cardiac Cath Lab in Project With Patientflow Technology

Wait Times for Urgent Cases Decrease 50 - 60%; More Predictable Scheduling, Fewer Overtime Hours Even as Patient Volume Increases

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - June 24, 2008) - PatientFlow Technology (www.patientflowtech.com), the leading provider of patient flow management tools and services for hospitals, today announced that the first four months of the patient flow improvement project at WellStar Health System's Kennestone Hospital Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory has produced dramatic results. The cardiac cath lab project is coordinated with the patient flow project currently underway in the main OR (see Press Releases of 3/25/08 and 06/16/08). Since the plan was implemented in late January, waiting times for urgent cardiac catheterization cases have dropped by more than 50%, and patients and physicians are getting into the cath lab more quickly. Emergency cases continue to get into the cath lab in less than 90 minutes, as before. Kennestone Hospital, WellStar's 633-bed flagship hospital, is located in Marietta, Georgia.

On January 28, 2008, Kennestone Hospital implemented a plan specifically aimed at improving patient flow in the cardiac cath lab. Cardiac cath labs care for a mix of patients, some of whom are having elective procedures, but many of whom are admitted to the hospital with chest pain or in the midst of a heart attack and need quick attention. Because of the mix of scheduled and unscheduled cases, days can be hectic and long.

Using rigorous data analysis and queuing theory -- an operations management tool developed in industry and adapted for the hospital environment -- PatientFlow Technology developed a plan that calls for setting aside one or two of the existing four labs, depending on the day of the week, for urgent and emergent cases. This ensures that these patients are cared for in a timely manner, without causing delays or cancellations in the day's elective cases. The plan was approved and adopted by the medical director of the cath lab, the project team and hospital administration.

Since the plan was implemented in late January, average waiting times for urgent cases have dropped 50 - 60%. These are cases that cardiologists determined should be cared for within 24 hours. At the same time, emergency cases continue to get into the cath lab in less than 90 minutes, the "gold standard" for cardiac care.

"By performing non-elective cases in designated rooms starting in the morning, and implementing other operational improvements, we have seen a decrease in waiting time. This has helped to improve the quality of care that we provide to our patients, and has decreased the amount of time that our patients need to fast," said Dr. Arthur Reitman, Medical Director of Kennestone's cath lab.

"The staff is pleased with the new design. Their days are much more predictable, and they more regularly go home on time or earlier. I am delighted about the ongoing projects with PatientFlow Technology, and the results we are achieving here," added Dr. Reitman. The average amount of time that the lab has had to stay open past regular hours on a daily basis has dropped from about 55 minutes to less than 10 minutes.

"The project has measurably improved the cath lab efficiency and provided a framework that all the physicians are comfortable with," said Pat Jansen, Vice President of Cardiac Services. "And the sicker patients are getting into the lab more quickly," concurred Brenda Adams and Susan Wheaton, cath lab flow coordinators at Kennestone. Notably, waiting times decreased even as the volume of cases increased 15% over the first three months of the project and the utilization rate of the cath lab rooms increased by 10%.

Dr. Diosdado Irlandez, Cardiologist at Kennestone, commented, "I do not feel as busy, although we are doing more cases. We used to bump patients from day to day; it was very embarrassing to bump a patient who had been fasting from midnight the day before." "Now, we don't have to do that anymore," added Dr. Scott McKee, Cardiologist at Kennestone.

"Kennestone is pioneering an extensive operational improvement effort. Word has spread quickly about the tremendously successful results we are seeing in the OR, ER and now the cardiac cath lab," said Candice Saunders, SVP and hospital administrator, WellStar Kennestone. "Although they are different, each successive project is running more smoothly and with better collaboration. Staff and physicians want to become a part of the process and improve not only their own workflow, but also the quality of care they offer our patients. Without a doubt, these enhancements are also paying big dividends in the form of patient satisfaction and a more balanced life for our staff and physicians."

"Kennestone continues on a successful path with its operational improvement projects by moving into the cardiac cath lab. This unique and bold move illustrates the hospital's true world-class colors," said Richard Siegrist, President and CEO of PatientFlow Technology. "The cath lab is one of the most stressful and complex areas of the hospital to manage, and Kennestone has seen outstanding results in terms of decreasing wait times for urgent/emergent cases and improving the utilization rate of the cath lab rooms. All levels of the hospital are seeing the benefits."

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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