One in five American adults visits the emergency room at least once every 12 months, according to research.  That means tens of millions of people check into hospitals across the United States every year.

For emergency room administrative staff, who are already overworked, this can be daunting.  They need to anticipate patient demand to reduce wait times and ensure people receive the treatment they need.  Not accurately determining demand, on the other hand, could cost lives.  Here’s how the latest technology can optimize patient flow in the ER.

Why is Demand Planning Crucial in the Emergency Room?

Most people associate demand planning with the retail and manufacturing sectors.  Companies use the latest software to make accurate predictions about consumer demand for their products so they can streamline supply chain processes.  However, demand planning software is just as effective in the ER as it is in the factory or on the shop floor.  The latest digital tools provide ER staff with valuable insights into patients who attend their hospitals.

Here are some of the insights ER staff can gain from demand planning tools:

  • Discover an ER room’s busiest days and times based on historical data and the latest trends.
  • Find out what type of medical care patients require.
  • Determine what types of patients are likely to visit an ER at any given time.

ER staff might tell you that, when working in a busy hospital, no two days are the same.  But is this really the case?  Research suggests that staff can determine daily demand for emergency department services through weekly and seasonal patterns.  As a result, staff can make accurate predictions about patient visits, especially in the short-term.

Here are three ways demand planning software can gauge patient demand for better medical outcomes:

  1. Reduce Wait Times

ER staff can use the latest digital tools to reduce wait times.  Once they determine the busiest days and times for patient visits, they can hire additional staff to cope with the extra demand or transfer patients to other medical centers.

Patient wait times in the ER have increased in recent years.  In 1997, patients waited, on average, 22 minutes to see an ER physician.  In 2014, this increased to 30 minutes.

  1. Improve Patient-Practitioner Relationships

As a result of reduced wait times, ER staff can improve the patient experience.  This can have a positive impact on patient-practitioner relationships as doctors and nurses are able to carry out necessary treatment without having to worry about an influx of patients waiting for their services.

Research shows that patients associate long waiting times with poor-quality healthcare.  Moreover, hospitals with long wait times received lower clinical provider scores of patient satisfaction.  Incorporating demand planning software into your healthcare organization could resolve these problems.

  1. Reduce Death Rates

Demand planning software ensures patients who attend ER rooms get the help they need in the quickest possible time.  This can reduce complications associated with certain health conditions and, in some cases, even reduce the risk of death.

Research shows that ER crowding can increase in-hospital death rates.  This is just one of the reasons why anticipating demand in the ER is so important.

Demand planning software doesn’t just benefit retailers and manufacturers.  It can help healthcare organizations manage patient wait times, improve patient-practitioner relationships, and even reduce death rates.  Looking for demand planning tools that provide you with real value?  Click here to learn more!

About Vanguard Software
Vanguard Software introduced its first product for decision support analysis in 1995. Today, companies across every major industry and more than 60 countries rely on the Vanguard Predictive Planning platform. Vanguard Software is based in Cary, North Carolina.

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