Quality Expert Blanton Godfrey Predicts "Big Winners and Losers" After Health Reform

Tells hospitals to take page from industrial engineering, plan workflow

Dec 07, 2011, 07:00 ET from TeleTracking Technologies, Inc.

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- International quality and productivity expert Blanton Godfrey, co-founder with Don Berwick of the National Demonstration Project for Quality Improvement in Healthcare that later evolved into the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), predicts healthcare reform will produce "big winners and big losers" among the nation's 5,000-plus hospitals.

In a recent keynote address at TeleTracking Technologies 2011 Annual Client Conference, Godfrey told the record crowd in attendance that hospitals should take a page from industrial engineering and plan their workflow better as a way to maintain the quality of care and reduce the cost.

"Better flow is the reason Toyota was producing a car in the late 1980s at 30 percent less labor cost than Mercedes because they focused on process," he said, adding that he had "watched parts for Panasonic VCRs come off the truck and out the other end as finished products in two hours flat."

Quality improvement is rooted in industrial engineering as a process to reduce defects and problems in the production of manufactured goods.  Today, these principles are being applied to the service industry, which has led to today's use in health care to identify inefficiencies and improve safety and quality of care.

"This is a time of rapid change, and rapid change produces big winners and big losers," said Godfrey. "What we're really talking about is how do we manage the flow from the time the person comes into a hospital until the time the person goes out," he said, "and how to make this work better?"  

Godfrey said people talk about re-engineering healthcare as if it had "been engineered in the first place" and challenged the crowd to consider what this lack of engineering costs us.  Godfrey took a page from Curing Health Care: New Strategies for Quality Improvement, which he coauthored with Donald M. Berwick and Jane Roessner, to discuss applying quality management to the process of healthcare:  "If you really want to get a big number, look at non-value-added work. Don't look at mistakes, don't look at errors. Look at things that should never have been done in the first place." 

Stressing that all hospitals will be asked to do more with less than ever before under current reform legislation, he urged healthcare decision-makers to determine the "work worth doing and have a vision of what you want to achieve."

TeleTracking helps hospitals and health systems implement or improve patient flow logistics through a combination of strategic change and process excellence across disciplines and functions. "TeleTracking hospital clients that have maximized existing capacity began with an understanding of how people, processes and tools drive both constraints and opportunities," said Lisa Romano, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer.

TeleTracking solutions, which combine patient flow software, business process improvement expertise, and business analytics reporting, produce significant results.  "Yes, healthcare is complex and unpredictable.  But there is evidence that hospitals that apply quality initiatives to eliminate waste achieve continuous improvement without adding money, people, space or inventory.  These hospitals, and the patients they serve, will come out on the side of 'big winners'", added Romano.  

TeleTracking, which invented automated patient flow systems, is a leader in the move to provide "Real-Time Capacity Management" for hospital enterprises using proven patient flow solutions and real-time locating systems (RTLS) to create an optimal patient pathway from admission to discharge. 

About TeleTracking
For more than two decades, TeleTracking Technologies, the world leader in automated patient flow, has applied proven principles of logistics management to hospitals and health systems to enhance patient care, improve financial performance and gain competitive advantage.  Its industry-leading software and consulting services create an enterprise-wide platform that connects patient flow to patient care for better outcomes.  TeleTracking solutions reduce overcrowding, cut costs, generate revenue, fight the spread of infection, manage assets, accelerate patient transfers and provide a wealth of data for continual operational improvement and business development.  For more information visit www.teletracking.com or contact us at info@teletracking.com.

CONTACT: Dennis Morabito, +1-412-391-6078, dennis-morabito@teletracking.com

SOURCE TeleTracking Technologies, Inc.