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May 22, 2024

Rochester General Hospital Reduces Turnaround Times by 41%

Customer Snapshot

Rochester General Hospital, a 528-bed tertiary care hospital with an average daily census of 535+, has been serving the residents of the Rochester area and its surrounding communities since 1847. It offers primary medical care and a broad range of specialties.

HHS Services

Environmental Services

Patient Transport

Results

Immediate results of the HHS' Specialized Discharge Unit (SDU)

 

Challenges and HHS Approach

Challenges

Before HHS established a Specialized Discharge Unit (SDU), Rochester General Hospital faced:

  • Prolonged TAT, averaging 76 minutes.
  • Bottlenecks and delays due to inefficient discharge processes stemming from a lack of dedicated throughput management personnel.
  • Diminished productivity of project labor, floor care, and ancillary cleaning as EVS team members were taken from their responsibilities to assist with discharges.

Actions 

HHS established a Specialized Discharge Unit (SDU) on February 5, 2024, to combat discharge bottlenecks and improve patient throughput. The SDU is an elite team of one manager and five top-performing, hand-selected housekeepers. They work during peak discharge hours, from 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, focusing only on streamlining the discharge cleaning process.

"Before the Specialized Discharge Unit (SDU) from HHS was stood up, the entire HHS EVS team struggled to keep up with discharges, often having to pull staff from other important tasks during busy times. But thanks to the SDU’s help, we now consistently meet our target turnaround times, and we’ve even improved how efficiently we move patients through the hospital. This team has really boosted the quality of the Environmental Services (EVS) department and inspired everyone to strive for excellence." - Maura Synder, Associate COO, Rochester General Hospital

Results

Immediate Improvement Across Patient Transport

The SDU reduced TAT by 36 minutes on their first day and achieved consistent wins across patient transport over the next three months.

Average Turnaround Times (TAT)

Average Transports per Day

Average Request-to-Complete Minutes

Impact on Patient Experience

Improving every patient transport metric enhanced the patient experience. After the SDU was created, both HCAHPS scores and patients’ willingness to recommend Rochester increased significantly, and Rochester’s emergency department (ED) boarders decreased dramatically.

HCAHPS Scores

Willingness to Recommend Hospital

Average Daily Emergency Department (ED) Boarders

Collective Ownership of Discharge Process

Being selected for the SDU gave the group a sense of purpose and ownership. Four out of the original five housekeepers remain on the team, and their consistent TAT averages highlight the team's commitment to their roles.

"I get satisfaction in knowing that I am doing a good deed for our patients by providing them all with a clean and safe environment to heal. Granted, that is my job in any area; however, this program allows it to feel more personal to me. I also feel as though my peers look up to me, which is pretty cool! If they're cleaning a room and aren't sure of something, they'll ask me, and that makes me feel really good." - Shardea Fortenberry, SDU Housekeeper

Weekly, manager-led meetings continue to drive the SDU's success. These collaborative sessions assess TAT performance, address challenges, and prioritize quality service. This fosters a culture of collective problem-solving that results in low TAT and a smooth patient discharge process.

Positive Impact on the EVS Department

Before the SDU, managing discharges disrupted EVS duties like project labor, floor care, and ancillary cleaning. Team members were pulled away, restricting their ability to complete these tasks.

The implementation of SDU eliminated these disruptions, allowing EVS team members to return to their primary roles. Streamlining the discharge process also freed up the second shift from assisting with discharge backlogs, empowering them to focus on other critical tasks that contributed to an enhanced patient experience.

“All members take pride in knowing they are all held to a higher standard, and they carry themselves as such. Team members look forward to our huddles each morning to hear our focus points and know what our TAT was from the day prior, always looking to go the extra mile for our patients and customers. I have also noticed other housekeepers show admiration for the discharge team and aspire to be a part of the team as well.” - Jhulrhonn Thompson, Assistant Director, SDU Manager

Continuing Program Optimization

To further enhance our service delivery at Rochester, HHS is refining the SDU program by leveraging the expertise of our team. We'll select a high-performing individual to manage discharge phone calls — the vital link between the SDU and our EVS team. This shift will free up the SDU manager's time, allowing them to provide more direct support and leadership on the floor.

Download a PDF version of this case study.

Meet Patient Flow, HHS' centralized, tech-enabled patient transport program

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