Patient Flow Analysis

Patient Flow Analysis

Increasing the knowledge of acute hospital capacity management.

We wish to increase the knowledge of acute hospital capacity management
, particularly in relation between occupancy and patient outcomes (length of stay and adverse events).

Adverse events occur in Australian hospital settings at a reported frequency of around 17%. The majority of these adverse events occur as a result of human error, half of which are considered preventable. It is intuitive to think that the greater the workload placed upon hospital staff as dictated by higher inpatient occupancy levels, the higher the likelihood of an adverse event. Much research has been performed on the effect of emergency waiting times on the clinical outcome of patients, as well as the effect that hospital occupancy has on access block (the time required for an Emergency Department patient waiting to be admitted to a bed actually being admitted). However, there has been minimal research into the effect that inpatient occupancy rates have on inpatient adverse events.

It is important to understand the relationship between hospital occupancy and adverse events within the inpatient population. This enables the development of appropriate resources and interventions to minimise these adverse events and instigate measures that not only reduce inpatient adverse events but also have flow on effects to other areas of a hospital such as the ED and access block. By increasing knowledge within this field, it is hoped that hospitals can improve the management of hospital occupancy to benefit patient outcomes.

Key Research Questions

  • What is the impact of earlier patient discharge on hospital occupancy, patient length of stay and access block?
  • What is the impact of hospital occupancy and alerting processes on discharge activity?
  • What is the relationship between hospital occupancy and the incidence of adverse events?