Creating Flow in a health care institution can be perceived as an overwhelming task. However, Lean specialists have successfully supervised the creation of Flows in hospital settings. A well-known example is the one piece Flow at Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Bellevue ambulatory care center.
Seattle Children’s Hospital has been dedicated to implementing Lean in their hospitals for the past five years. Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Bellevue ambulatory care center has received rave reviews from patients and other health care providers for its creatively designed one piece Flow built around the needs of the customer and employee efficiency.
The one piece Flow occurs as follows: the patient and his or her family enter on the first floor, walk approximately twenty feet to the elevator and take the elevator to the second floor. They exit the elevator on the second floor at registration, where the registrar immediately greets them and signals the doctor and nurse electronically that they have arrived. The patient and family wait for less than five minutes before they are led approximately twenty feet to the induction room for vitals. The anesthesiologist enters after the patient and family have been made comfortable to answer all of the patient’s and family’s questions. The patient is then wheeled into a connected operation room. After the operation, the patient and family are taken to a recovery room that is also connected to the operation room. The patient wakes up surrounded by his or her family and a recovery nurse in the recovery room. The surgeon remains to answer all of the patient’s and family’s questions. Once the patient is fully awake and checked one last time by the surgeon, the patient is taken by wheelchair the approximately twenty feet from the recovery room to the elevator they came up on down to the first floor another twenty or so feet to the family’s car awaiting them under the canopy.
The one piece Flow at Bellevue ambulatory care center coordinates the nurse and doctor Value added, patient centered activities to further increase patient satisfaction. Furthermore, the one piece Flow decreases patient wait time, drastically decreases patient travel time, and increases patient comfort during the patient’s private induction, and time in the recovery room.
Seattle Children’s Hospital is a best practice of Flow. What has been your experience with Flow? What worked and what didn’t work?