Maximize the Efficiency of Staff Deployment
Washington Hospital Center is Washington DC’s largest private hospital and has consistently ranked as one of the top hospitals in the US. The center has 926 licensed beds, and the 1600 physicians and employed faculty at the hospital make up one of the most experienced medical/dental and surgical staffs in the region. With a $1 billion operating budget, Washington Hospital Center’s volume of service in fiscal year 2009 included 43,000 admissions, 24,000 surgeries, 82,000 emergency room visits and 412,000 ambulatory care visits.
The Environmental Services Department at Washington Hospital Center is responsible for providing the regular cleaning, waste removal, linen services, discharge cleaning, furniture movement, and “on-call” services to handle a myriad of requests related to housekeeping functions. The department employs a number of people with varying skill levels who are then dispatched to various areas in the Hospital based upon workload requirements and the priority of tasks registered. The goal is to provide a clean, healthy, and safe environment for patients and staff through sanitization and bioload reduction.
The Environmental Services Department was challenged with the task of delivering a high standard of service at the least-cost to the hospital. This task was further complicated by the time delay in Environmental Services receiving the dispatch information from other departments, so it was especially important that response times were condensed. A key measure of the department’s performance was the turnaround time of beds for new patients, given the importance of bed availability to the overall flow of healthcare services across the hospital.
To help them achieve their objectives, Washington Hospital Center contracted Visual8 to develop a simulation tool that could assist them in the efficient deployment of staff across the hospital.
A detailed production model was built to accurately capture the work provided by Environmental Services along with staff availability and current dispatch methods.
The hospital units modeled include 47 departments situated in 11 different geographical clusters. The different clusters allow proximity and travel time to be considered in the efficient dispatch of workers to task areas across the hospital. In addition, 5 levels of expertise were identified as the process time to deal with specific tasks may be altered by the skill level of the individual performing the work.
The hourly rate of work, mix of tasks by area, and the complement of staff available at different times of the day are all user-defined inputs provided through carefully structured and formatted input sheets and dialog boxes. The patient inflows and outflows from each department were derived through hospital data but are likewise fully adjustable. This provides a fast-turnaround modeling tool to address the many “what-if” scenarios that Environmental Services wished to evaluate.
Upon completion of the detailed production model, the team at Washington Hospital Center could analyze the various types of work profiles across the clinics and the dispatch of workers to satisfy the environmental tasks required.
This allowed the department to examine various ways of streamlining/adjusting the staffing levels required to meet specified performance standards. Moreover, the tool could be used as a staff planning aid that would optimize the complement (number and skill level) of staff required to meet the anticipated hospital workload levels over time.
The production model has enabled the Environmental Services Department at Washington Hospital Center to optimize the use and delivery of resources to satisfy current workload levels and performance requirements. Through this, the department was able determine appropriate staffing levels and develop more efficient operating and dispatch procedures. This led to a 20% reduction in the bed turnaround time.
As an added bonus going forward, the tool can be used to support the preparation of departmental budgets with respect to staffing levels and operating costs for a given forecast of patient volumes.
- Washington Hospital Center required a tool to aid them in the efficient planning and deployment of Environmental Services department staff
- Visual8 developed a simulation model to capture the work provided by Environmental Services along with staff availability and current dispatch methods
- Simulation modeled 47 departments within the hospital and kept track of work locations, work priorities, and the hourly workload
- Resulting simulation model enabled the hospital team to optimize the use and delivery of staff to satisfy current workload levels, leading to a 20% reduction in bed turnaround time