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Process automation can streamline emergency room operations

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
June 12, 2013

Many hospitals face an overwhelming task when it comes to completing emergency room processes effectively and treating patients as efficiently as possible. Business process management software for healthcare can alleviate many challenges in this area and equip hospitals to streamline operations, enabling them to put patients first.

BPM in the ER

When many people think about the emergency room, one of the thoughts that may come to mind is doctors rushing into surgery in response to catastrophic incidents. While this kind of harried activity definitely happens, plenty of emergency room visits come because somebody is in pain, or ill, but cannot go to their primary-care physician for one reason or another. For example, a person may have an inexplicable back pain that emerges in the middle of the night and is too severe to ignore until the morning. In the emergency room, that person may get checked in, given a room, be visited by a general practitioner, be given pain relief medication and eventually end up waiting a long time for a specialist to come and perform tests.

This kind of scenario is not rare in the emergency room, as hospitals often face a wide range of patients and have to spread physicians thin to meet patient needs. In the emergency room, however, some of the challenge is logistical. A person's information has to be processed at registration. That data needs to be checked with insurance providers and similar companies, anddoctors can then be assigned to the patient. From there, a physician may see the patient and think a specialist is necessary and connect with that individual, who may work in a different part of the hospital. Core processes have to be connected between the registration and check-in areas, the emergency room physicians and the specialists. If these processes are not streamlined, patients could end up waiting too long for care.

Using BPM to streamline collaboration

With the rise of electronic health record systems and other advanced technologies in healthcare, many hospitals have the infrastructure in place to connect with physicians more effectively. This allows doctors to access key data and applications more efficiently. However, that technology does little to, for example, help a specialist identify the best time to move on from day-to-day operations to see a person who is resting in stable condition in the emergency department. BPM software takes all of the data and application technologies and integrates them with processes, enabling physicians to collaborate more effectively and prioritize operations, ensuring patients get the care they need, when they need it.

Malcolm Ross

Vice President of Product Marketing