In the area of healthcare services, it’s not uncommon to go to a general medicine clinic and find 10 other patients all with a 10 AM appointment. Clearly, the reason is it’s difficult to estimate appointment durations, not that staff just can’t be bothered to accommodate patients at precise times.
In a hospital, things go differently – usually you are being tracked along a ‘care pathway’ that has a number of steps that need to be performed in logical order by staff with different skill sets, and the idea is to have things move along smartly.
However, the fact remains that it is difficult to anticipate how long each step will take.
Hospital policy/procedure typically includes rules that say that an admitted patient must have a physical exam within say 72 hours of arrival.
My focus here is going to be on how hospital administrators can avoid reaching states of non-compliance by ensuring that time-critical steps along patient care pathways are reached within established limits.
Now, if process control protocols are in use such that your software system provides early warning of evolving states of non-compliance, how do you know what to focus on when you are in fire-fighting mode?
“When is it too late to be early?’ is a “Squeaky Wheel” approach that allows best use of key resources in an environment where task durations cannot be precisely established in advance.