The entire process reminded me of the opportunities that exist for process improvement. This starts with the registration process and goes on to include patient identification, general hospital logistics, and the discharge process. Fortunately, the doctors involved were competent and the nursing staff cared, but nothing else went well. For example:
- If you have a common name, it becomes easy to mix up patients. No, my family member is not 45 nor does she have lung cancer. How scary.
- The ultra sound machine was not available at the time of the procedure…causing a two hour delay. Why can’t equipment be scheduled along with the procedure?
- Where is the doctor? It took repeated requests to the nursing staff to call the doctor before he appeared. If a medical emergency arose, that’s one thing but that was not the case.
- Finding a bed after deciding the patient should stay overnight took three hours. The worse part about this situation was the lack of information available. While the nursing staff could look at a monitor, they had no way of knowing what would happen when or where we were in the queue.
- Discharging the patient…need I say anymore?
Where do you even start with improving the processes?
Hospitals can begin by viewing the patient as the customer and start thinking about what the customer wants. While recognizing that emergencies happen, the number one improvement any hospital could make today is communications.