A male healthcare worker and an elderly female patient sitting in a hospital waiting room

Healthcare facilities are under a lot of pressure. An aging population, shortage of healthcare workers, and decreasing hospital capacity are contributing to severe overcrowding and care delivery delays in many medical facilities. Long queues, waiting room congestion, and stranded patients in emergency room hallways are common scenes in many hospitals and healthcare institutions around the country.

Overcrowding and patient treatment delays are not minor inconveniences. A study published in Critical Care Medicine found that patients who were discharged from the ICU because of overcrowding had an increased risk of being readmitted to the unit. Poor patient flow does not only deteriorate health care quality but can also increase your facility’s operating costs, leading to reduced business profitability.

What Is Patient Flow?

Patient flow is all the stages of care a patient goes through in a medical facility from their point of admission to their point of discharge. Healthcare facilities design patient flow charts to detail all the processes, treatments, and resources needed to get the patient moving from arrival to release. When a facility’s patient progress system is efficient, patients move quickly through the healthcare system with minimal bottlenecks and delays. 

An inefficient patient flow system, on the other hand, causes backups and congestion in emergency and other healthcare departments, leading to patient and provider frustration, increased medical errors, and higher mortality rates. Poor patient flow also increases operational costs as more money is spent on acquiring additional staff and expanding the facility to deal with overcrowding. Optimizing patient progress through your system improves the quality of healthcare and saves you more money.

Benefits of Optimizing Patient Flow

An elderly Black woman getting an injection into her shoulder from a young female nurse

Streamlining the movement of patients through the healthcare system while maintaining quality care provides plenty of benefits for all of the parties involved in the process. An optimized movement process improves patient experience, enhances staff satisfaction, and helps facilities reduce costs associated with overcrowding and care delivery delays.

Here are some benefits of improving patient flow efficiency at your healthcare facility:

Reduced Patient Walkouts

Long queues and overcrowded waiting rooms cause patient frustration. Many frustrated patients can’t bear the long wait and will leave your facility without being seen. Accelerating the movement of patients through the healthcare system will lead to reduced queues and crowds. Less congestion will decrease patient walkouts, helping your facility generate more revenue.

Higher Staff Satisfaction

Patients must be seen and monitored while they wait, creating additional work for your healthcare staff. Poor patient flow increases the workload burden on your workforce, leading to low job satisfaction and high employee turnover rates. An efficient patient flow chart boosts staff satisfaction, resulting in increased workforce productivity.

Better-Quality Healthcare

Overcrowding in medical facilities deteriorates the quality of healthcare. Stressed and overworked healthcare workers have less time to focus on individual patients, leading to higher incidences of misdiagnoses and medical errors. 

A study has found that the rate of readmission increased by 9 percent for every additional patient assigned to a nurse. Improving patient flow helps you deliver higher-quality care, boosting your facility’s reputation for medical excellence.

Increased Business Profitability

Many healthcare institutions resort to acquiring more resources to overcome the challenge of overcrowding. Expanding the facility and hiring additional staff increases operating costs which eat into your profit margins. Implementing a more efficient patient progress system can help you generate more revenue without acquiring additional resources, helping your facility keep costs down.

How to Optimize Patient Flow in Your Medical Facility

Patients sitting inside a clinic's waiting room

Creating a quicker and more efficient patient movement system improves healthcare quality, boosts your facility’s reputation, and helps you generate more profit. Patient flow charts alone are not enough to help you accelerate quality care delivery. You must embrace technology to overcome your healthcare facility’s inefficient patient flow system. A cutting-edge crowd management software like Qless can help you serve more patients with less spending.

The Qless queue management software streamlines the waiting process to reduce congestion in your facility. Qless makes patients wait in virtual queues instead of physical ones, eliminating overcrowding inside of your premises. Patients can wait on their way to the hospital, inside their car, or at a local coffee shop until their appointment comes up. Reducing the number of people present inside the medical facility will relieve stress off of your staff, helping them deliver higher-quality care to patients.

Deliver Quality Care with the Qless Patient Flow Solution

Qless’s award-winning crowd management software is all you need to streamline patient movement through your healthcare system and reduce inefficiency costs. With Qless, you can serve more patients with fewer resources, helping you save more money and improve business profitability. Request a business demo now to experience how the Qless crowd management software can help you eliminate patient flow bottlenecks and deliver higher-quality care.