Ready to Benchmark Your Hospital’s Internal Transport Service?

Peter Van de Kerkhove

Peter Van de Kerkhove

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse, by Peter Van de Kerkhove.

When most people want to “benchmark” their hospital’s internal Transport Service, they are hoping for a single “standard” they can use to evaluate the relative performance of their department. But when they are offered a “complimentary” benchmark assessment of their internal Transport Service, most hospitals are not prepared to provide the data needed to perform that assessment. Why is that?

A concise answer to that question is not so easy. First, it’s important to recognize that in order to assess any given internal patient Transport Service in a hospital, we should know if that department is performing “all” of the internal patient movements that a “normal” Transport Service would be performing?

What’s “normal?” What’s “all?”  After 25+ years of assessing literally hundreds of Transport Services, “normal” isn’t too difficult to define, but defining “all” is yet another challenge, since most hospitals aren’t tracking “all” their inpatient movements, or at least, not in a way that can easily be retrieved and assessed. Fortunately, having worked with hundreds of hospitals that did have technology for tracking and reporting “nearly all” their internal patient Transport movements, “all” turns out to be a metric relative to their “annual transportable inpatient days.”

What’s a “transportable” inpatient day? They are the inpatient days associated with the patients that are “normally” transported by a hospital’s centralized transport service. Suddenly, defining “all” becomes less complicated, therefore making it easier to assess how “centralized” the current Transport Service is today.

The second major factor that makes it challenging to benchmark every hospital’s internal patient Transport Service is the logistical uniqueness of every hospital. If you recall seeing the last page of the old Rand McNally maps (as opposed to the new web-based Mileage Calculator), there was a grid that estimated the miles from/to every major city in the USA. Before the internet, and before personal GPS devices, that was a practical method for estimating travel time from city to city.

Now just imagine this… in order to determine the average “standard” travel time for any given internal patient transport, within your facility, it could require an Industrial Engineer, perhaps 2 months, and thousands of time studies, to assess it! Since that’s not a practical option, only hospitals using Transport Management systems have the ability to extract that kind of data and provide it at a push of a button.

So for hospitals that know their annual patient days by “type of service,” and currently use a system to track and manage patient transporters, then you are “ready” for a Transport Benchmark Assessment. But, are you also willing?

January seems like the time when everyone is most open to making a few “personal improvement” New Year resolutions, so it’s very likely that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of hospitals out there that are both ready and willing to get their Internal Patient Transport Services in a little better shape in 2015. I know that when I got on the scale this morning and had to face the result of enjoying all those tasty holiday meals, it’s a question as to whether I’m willing to take action.

Are you ready to benchmark your hospital’s Internal Transport Service?

For those of you that are ready and willing to face the reality that comes along with it, please feel free to respond and we will do our best to help you set your 2015 Performance Improvement goals, in a timely manner.

From all of us at Towne Health, best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year!

Guest Post by Peter Van de Kerkhove, Director of Service Excellence 
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