Ever-tightening budgets are putting pressure on hospitals to improve their throughput—the time from when patients enter the hospital until they are discharged. Many factors go into ensuring efficient throughput. However, the significant role hospital environmental services (EVS) can play is frequently overlooked in the process.
A significant component of hospital throughput is bed capacity, i.e., the number of beds available for patient occupancy at any given time. Many factors affect bed turnover, including:
- Total number of beds owned
- Beds that cannot be used due to maintenance/safety issues
- Bed shortages due to high demand or lengthier patients stays
- Beds left unoccupied due to communicable diseases, gender preference, or other reasons
- Slow bed turnover—beds that are not available in a timely manner due to inefficient throughput.
While some of these points need to be addressed by hospital management, the right hospital EVS partner can have a powerful, positive impact on improving throughput.
Why Bed Turnover Fails
Unnecessarily sluggish bed turnover can stem from a variety of inefficiencies, including:
- Ineffective processes and procedures
- Departments not adhering to throughput processes
- Poor communication between departments
- Insufficient staff training and subpar cleaning quality
- Unclear expectations and goal setting
- Ineffective leadership and lack of accountability
- Absence of ongoing monitoring and data collection.
Hospital EVS & Improved Throughput
Below are ways partnering with the right hospital EVS team can help improve bed turnover.
Policies and procedures. Hospital EVS can set policies, such as requiring Nursing to alert EVS when a room is ready to be cleaned and, in turn, mandating EVS to let Nursing know when rooms are ready. Creating similar guidelines can greatly streamline processes and increase bed-turnover rates.
Interdepartmental cooperation. To perform its tasks effectively and efficiently, EVS must be able to communicate with other departments. In most cases, Nursing has the most contact with patients from admission through discharge. By establishing a good relationship and keeping the lines of communication open, EVS can initiate routines, such as checking in with Nursing at the start of the day-shift to determine which patients are expected to be discharged that day. Similarly, EVS can partner with other departments to meet shared goals. For instance, EVS can suggest the emergency department use smart devices or some other type of paging system to alert EVS when a room is ready for cleaning, receptacles need emptying, or linens are ready for pickup.
Quality. EVS hospital teams are trained to clean and disinfect as expediently as possible without sacrificing quality while following all infection-prevention and other hospital policies. This consistent quality goes a long way to preventing healthcare acquired infections (HAIs), which can negatively impact a hospital’s total performance score and significantly lengthen patient’s stays — by as many as 8.2 to 12.6 days, according to a study cited by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Staffing to demand. Hospital EVS can use historical data to look for patterns, such as surges in hospital occupancy during certain times of day, days, or months, and increase the number of available workers to meet this higher demand.
Responsive supervision. As with most any service, effective leadership and accountability are crucial to success. The best EVS hospital teams have both. EVS should have clearly defined and understood goals. There also should be a good working relationship between a dedicated EVS director/superior and hospital “sponsor,” someone with the authority to help EVS enlist the ongoing support of other departments and hold individuals accountable.
Monitoring and validating. The most effective hospital EVS service providers constantly monitor their policies, procedures, and processes to validate service-response times, quality, and end results. This data, which includes bed turnover rates, is invaluable to identifying where goals are being met and where challenges still exist. Data can also provide solid proof of EVS’ significant contribution to enhanced throughput.
Hospital Environmental Services Near Me
If you are in the California area and your hospital environmental services (EVS) provider is not discussing how its team can help improve your facility’s bed turnover rates, it’s time to discover the Servicon difference. Contact us today.
Is a career in EVS right for you? Find out about opportunities in EVS for hospitals and other healthcare facilities with the Servicon team at servicon.com/careers. Read more about what is Hospital Environmental Services.