Engineering advances in the areas of process improvement and operations research are revolutionizing the healthcare industry. Your clinic can benefit from these engineering advances by reducing your costs and increasing your revenue. You’ll improve your patient care quality and your patient satisfaction. Here are five engineering advances that can help your clinic improve its efficiency and costs.
Patient Flow Optimization
Engineering applications are being increasingly applied to hospital and clinic environments and patient flow is a critical area of clinic optimization. Changing the layout of the clinic can create better patient flow. Engineers can model your patient flow and help decide how the patient can move through the process in the fastest way. The result is the ability to serve more patients per day and reduce the fixed and variable cost of each individual patient.
AI and machine learning are changing just about every area that they touch. While it’s difficult to replace a doctor or nurse with AI, AI offers very clear benefits. Doctors are deploying AI to help them diagnose illnesses and injuries. Medical diagnostic equipment searches for abnormalities or areas that should be looked over more closely by a doctor. AI catches abnormalities earlier than possible with traditional visual methods. To take advantage of AI and machine learning in your clinic, talk with your equipment vendors and let them know that you want AI and machine learning advancements in your next medical equipment acquisition.
Queue modeling is dramatically changing how clinics and hospitals serve patients. It works hand in hand with patient flow optimization, but it is specifically focused on reducing the number of patients in the queue and reducing the amount of time that each patient spends in the queue. It’s the intersection of operations research and engineering. It’s so important that many programs are devoted just to this study. For example, students in a master’s of engineering management online program are at the forefront of this health care revolution. Queuing model simulation allows your clinic to find the processes that are taking too long or have unnecessary steps. It also works to identify processes that can be moved to a different part of the flow thereby reducing the time your patients wait.
Closed Loop Supply Chain
A closed loop supply chain represents a method for reducing waste. You can implement it in any type of business including health care. Those who implement it are able to bring about a reduction in costs while reducing their waste. The focus of CLSC is managing both forward and reverse flows to ensure that waste is minimized and converted into energy.
Implementing a closed loop supply chain gives your clinic a greener footprint. Patients are looking to reduce their ecological footprint in products and services they use. A CLSC gives you the chance to reach these patients. It’s a system that not only increases your clinic revenue, but it also decreases your expenses.
Lean Six Sigma
While it’s not a new advance, Lean Six Sigma is finding new uses in health care. It can help you improve the quality of your clinic. For example, a hospital in Mississippi reduced its prescription errors by 50% through Lean Six Sigma adoption. Lean Six Sigma is a combination of two quality improvement techniques: Lean and Six Sigma. Lean is about reducing waste and Six Sigma is about improving quality. Implementing Lean will reduce waste in your clinic. You’ll reduce inventory and unnecessary expenses. Implementing Six Sigma reduces errors that can cost you money by identifying processes or actions that increase variability. Lean Six Sigma combines these two techniques and has been shown by multiple university studies to reduce errors and operational costs.
Whether you implement these five engineering advances in conjunction with one another or solo, you’ll find that your clinic is providing better patient care at a reduced costs. They provide a great improvement in changing healthcare marketplace.