The Syracuse Post-Standard profiles a Premise Corporation installation at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center. The story has a nice lead in that set's the stage for Premise's patient flow application:

Monitoring the flow of patients and bed availability in a
busy 431-bed hospital like St. Joseph's Hospital Health
Center, in Syracuse, is akin to managing flight traffic at
an airport.

Patients are constantly arriving, departing and
transferring. About 50 beds turn over every day. Rooms need
to be cleaned after each patient leaves. Any misstep along
the way can set off a domino effect of delays, creating long
holdups in the emergency room for patients waiting to be

Until recently, St. Joe's managed this complex process
with scraps of paper and color-coded magnets on a
6-feet-by-4-feet wall board in its admitting department. The
scraps of paper contained patient names and room numbers.
The magnets identified patients with conditions like
allergies or contagious infections.

"If a magnet fell off the board, you'd have to
remember exactly where that magnet came from," said
Kimberly Murray, the hospital's director of surgical
services. "Of if you took a patient label out of a slot
to check some information, you had to make sure it got back
to the correct slot."

After spending nearly $500,000, a year to implement the system, and training 1,600 employees, the hospital went live.

The program at St. Joe's lets staff analyze the
hospital's capacity at any given moment and forecast
what traffic is likely to be later in the day.

"The biggest benefit of this is it can get the right
patient to the right bed in the shortest time frame
possible," Murray said.

Hospitals nationwide are under increasing pressure to do a
better job of orchestrating patient flow. Long waits for
beds can force emergency rooms to divert incoming ambulance
patients to other hospitals, delay medical care, anger
patients and hurt hospital finances.

The old system at St. Joe's relied on numerous phone
calls between staff on patient floors, the admitting office
and the housekeeping department. If housekeeping wasn't
notified right away of an empty bed, the dirty room would
not get cleaned right away, even though there might be a
patient in the ER waiting for it, according to Murray.

"Now it happens almost instantaneously, in minutes as
opposed to sometimes hours before," she said.

Information about patients and bed status is continually
updated. This task used to be handled by employees in the
admitting office. Now every nurse in the hospital is
responsible for entering information into the electronic bed
board in real time.

The system shows the rooms being cleaned and in what order
dirty rooms are scheduled for cleaning. The queue can be
changed at any time if a more pressing need for housekeeping
arises on another unit.

The system also has much more patient information, such as
whether the person has special needs or is awake a lot at
night and could be disruptive to a roommate.

[Hat tip: iHealthBeat]