See How Your Processes Will Change Before Moving Into Your Space!

As a healthcare planner, my world revolves around a series of spreadsheets and numbers.  My challenge? Making these spreadsheets not only interesting and appealing to our clients, but also comprehensible to those who are not as familiar with the world of analytics.  

Sterling Planning Alliance (Sterling) has found the use of throughput and other data modeling tools can be invaluable to clients. For clients who don’t understand what it means to translate numbers into operations, simulation modeling can be their Rosetta stone. Simulation also allows users to see a 3D image of their space with customizable “people” representing their staffing model moving through different scenarios to show exactly what’s going on in the model as its running.  These 3D visuals provide an opportunity for those who may not read a floor plan or a rendering as easily give valuable feedback throughout the design process.

Basic clinical modelling and simulation is something that organizations have been doing in some sense for as long as they’ve been trying to understand and streamline healthcare processes. Sophisticated modelling software makes this process quicker and easier to understand, while offering the ability to evaluate many scenarios and minor changes in rapid succession. 

Sterling’s new clinical simulation modelling software, FlexSim HC, gives us the ability to rapidly assess current state bottlenecks and flows while making adjustments for potential future state scenarios.  Using floor plans (current or proposed), we can create any number of clinical settings from outpatient clinics, EDs, inpatient floors, surgery departments, imaging suites or labs. 

The most recent application of this software for Sterling was utilized during a client’s outpatient general medicine clinic renovation. Our client was moving to a new space on their current campus. They had been seeing an increase in the number of patients they were serving for a period of time and expected the numbers to continue.  It was of key importance to be able to right size their waiting room and see how patients and providers would flow throughout the newly proposed space.

In order to model, real data was used to simulate both patient arrival patterns as well as time spent with different providers.  All of these inputs compounded to give a realistic simulation of what patient and provider flow would look like given the number of patients projected to be seen in typical day.  These real time flows allowed us to observe the waiting room area and determine what the space and capacity needs were based on known bottlenecks and wait times – both anticipated and unanticipated. The model generated output and utilization charts that allow us and the client to look critically at what was creating bottlenecks and where the best place to intervene is.  

Watch a 3D fly-thru video that was generated for our client. The video tracks the patient’s journey throughout the proposed design of the outpatient clinic.

Click here: https://vimeo.com/208499841

Post by Amira Khablein, MPH - Healthcare Planner

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