It’s the patient-tracking equivalent of an air traffic control center.

That’s how Holly Meisner, vice president of patient access, describes the new Patient Placement Operations Center (PPOC) at the Columbia campus of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

The center was co-developed with TeleTracking, the vendor that supplies the six-hospital system with its existing patient flow system.

The new PPOC at Columbia has a bank of large screens displaying real-time data from TeleTracking. PPOC measures established metrics for moving patients through the hospital by time-stamping emergency department throughput (for example, how long it takes for a patient to see a doctor or other clinician. A decision to admit a patient creates a bed request from the ER, and the system can record when a bed is assigned and when the bed is occupied, as well as how long it takes nursing to move a patient to an inpatient bed.

The Patient Placement Operations Center at the Columbia campus of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
The Patient Placement Operations Center at the Columbia campus of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

There also are timestamps for transport orders, response time and completion of transport, and timestamps to see how long it takes housekeeping to clean a room, among other metrics, Meisner says.

The implementation of the PPOC was relatively smooth—the original target of six weeks to complete the project turned into eight weeks, but that’s still a rapid deployment, Meisner says.

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Physicians were persuaded to accept timestamps for tracking their performance because they now can be shown evidence that the PPOC is speeding up patient care processes. That means the doctors can see more patients, which helps them build their practice, Meisner advises. As time goes on, bed management staff will get more training on the new system to ensure that they are comfortable using it.

The PPOC has changed perceptions of the hospital for clinicians and staff members alike. For the first time, everyone got a realistic idea of “just how many people need a bed in our hospital every day,” Meisner says, and that’s helping to break down silos that previously may have slowed processes.

Over time, all six New York-Presbyterian facilities will have a PPOC. With the Columbia campus hospital now live, the Weill Cornell campus is next, with its implementation expected to be complete by year-end, Meisner says.

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