Automated patient flow systems rising in popularity

Now that many hospitals have implemented electronic health records, they're looking to integrate automated solutions to manage patient flow and monitor bed and room status, according to a new study released by CapSite.

The study of more than 420 hospitals found that 41 percent already have invested in an automated patient flow product, with the number of products purchased significantly higher in 2011 and the first half or 2012 than in prior years. Of those hospitals that purchased the technology, more than one-half (59 percent) were buying a new system, not a replacement.

Sixteen percent of respondents with a patient flow product bought it as part of their overall EHR package; others purchased one as an additional module from their current EHR vendor.

Of the hospitals that currently do not have an automated patient flow solution, 31% reported that they planned to buy one within the next seven to 24 months. The most important product attribute they would be looking for in their evaluation was whether the patient flow solution would integrate with the hospital's current EHR. 

Improving patient flow has long been a goal of both hospitals and physicians as a way to improve efficiency and increase revenue. While some strategies, such as better nurse coordination and triage evaluation in the ED, can be effective, a computerized tracking system tied to the EHR  may provide a more systematic solution throughout the facility.

To learn more:
- read CapSite's announcement