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  • June 21 2011

    Balancing Your Organization's Capacity Checkbook

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    Managing capacity in health care is a complex business. The organization's ability to balance the right resources given their capacity is vital in this new era of health care. Resources (beds, equipment, and staff) are relatively fixed in the short term. Without comprehensive systems and empirical information to go by, it's difficult to determine whether changes to pieces and parts of the system are delivering the outcomes you expected. Utilizing fixed (and dwindling) resources to care for the dynamic health care needs of patients requires a comprehensive system. As David Pierre mentioned in his blog post, the need for health care services is rapidly outgrowing the supply of available resources, both providers to care for patients, and critical equipment required for treatment of their condition. Effective capacity management must involve a holistic approach to evaluating critical resources and assets in order to balance and achieve the optimal levels, efficiency and mix of each. Solutions that have been traditionally utilized to address these include:

    • Workforce Management Solutions – traditional time and attendance, staff scheduling, and human resources
    • Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP) – which offer the broad range of financial, general ledger, and supply management applications
    • Bed Management Tools – enabling providers to assign patients to beds and manage where a patient goes and how they get there
    • Asset Management Solutions – enabling health care organizations to manage bio-medical engineering of critical devices, preventative and scheduled maintenance, and depreciation of assets

    Each of these solutions independently serves a critical purpose. The problem remains that without looking at these pieces and parts comprehensively; one change or deviation in one area can have serious ramifications to the patient care experience.

    It is important to ask the tough questions about how your organizations are addressing each of these areas.

    • Are your critical departments aligned organizationally and talking to one another about the true impact changes in capacity and care needs will have on the patient care experience?
    • Do you have solutions in place today and do they communicate to each other effectively?
    • Are you able to analyze information from the data created by these disparate solutions in a format that allows you to easily identify inefficiencies and gaps?

    Cerner can help you and your organizations by creating a capacity management strategy and roadmap. In addition we provide connected solutions to address critical gaps in information flow and tools to support key processes at each step. Our CareAware Capacity Management solutions and services provide an integrated approach to managing patient flow, assets, and staffing levels as part of comprehensive program. If you are a Cerner client, you can learn more in the CareAware Capacity Management Community on uCern.

    Justin Nelson's current responsibilities include the CareAware Capacity Management solution strategy and business development. Justin works strategically with prospective clients, engineering, marketing, executive leadership to deliver the best solutions on the market in terms of Capacity Management Tracking & Real-Time Location Service Technology (RTLS), as well as, Capacity Management for Patient Flow which includes capabilities for enterprise wide bed management and transport / environmental services optimization. Justin has an extensive background in supply chain management, ERP systems, RTLS technology, software engineering, and workforce management. Justin has been with Cerner Corporation for 9 years and holds a BS in Business Management Information Systems from Kansas State University.

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