Patient Flow: JCAHO Editor Tells Hospitals Where to Start

“Hospitals have a lot of problems.” Those were the first words from Dr. Euguene Litvak when we asked him where hospitals should start to improve patient flow. Yikes. That does not bode well!

Considering Dr. Litvak’s curriculum vitae as the president of IHO, editor of JCAHO’s patient flow manual, a Harvard professor, and an IOM and AHA committee member… this man knows what he is talking about. We in the US healthcare system are facing some adversity.

However, this is not a news flash to any of us. With overcrowding, habitually late discharges, stressed staff, and lengthening delays in the ED (to name a few issues), every hospital in the nation is racing to improve processes. Not to mention the added pressures of the looming January 1 start of the Affordable Care Act.

Dr. Litvak asserts that hospitals are trying to solve patient flow problems by addressing the places where the consequences of poor throughput are being manifest. Yet, if improvements are to be made, hospitals need to start looking at the source of their problems, not the end result.

So, where do we start? Check out this 2-minute interview clip with Dr. Litvak. He gives a simple, but categorically overlooked, answer.