IHO head Eugene Litvak pioneers hospital efficiency measures

From humble U.S. beginnings as a near-penniless immigrant from the Soviet Union, Eugene Litvak has risen up the ranks to become one of the leading voices in hospital operations management.

In a profile in the Chicago Tribune, Litvak, the CEO and co-founder of the Institute for Healthcare Optimization (IHO), said a stint at Boston University led him to discover that hospital patient occupancy rates were variable, and he quickly uncovered the reason.

"I learned that the cause of these patient spikes wasn't the overcrowded emergency rooms, but hospital operating rooms where surgeries are performed," Litvak said to the newspaper. "That was an 'Aha moment' for me."

Since then, Litvak has worked with hospitals across the country, helping them increase revenue and reducing medical errors, overtime pay and ER wait times, according to the article.

Patient flow, and the peaks and valleys that can form in that flow, is what often causes overburdened staff members at busy times and may increase admission. It is another factor he stressed to FierceHealthcare during a 2014 interview.

Since he co-founded the independent, not-for-profit research organization, Litvak and his firm have attacked these issues at hospitals in the U.S., Canada and Scotland to international praise. Ellis Knight, M.D., chief medical officer and senior vice president for The Coker Group, told the Tribune that the "true genius" of his methods is that Litvak narrowed it down to factors that hospitals can control.

"We can't control how many people get sick or get in car wrecks and come into the ER, but we can control the number of elective surgeries," he said. "He showed that if you can smooth out the number of elective surgeries scheduled throughout the week, you can eliminate the peaks and valleys and dramatically impact the efficiency and safety of hospital operations."

Improving efficiency and patient outcomes is especially beneficial in the wake of studies indicating that medical errors account for more than 250,000 deaths each year, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

To learn more:
- here's the Chicago Tribune article

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