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Health systems need to move beyond resource-based scheduling

Mohan Giridharadas

Mohan Giridharadas

Founder & CEO, LeanTaaS

Watching the tennis matches at Wimbledon over the last couple of weeks has inspired me to try and play a bit more often in order to improve my erratic, “weekend-warrior” level of play.

The challenge is in reserving a tennis court at a convenient time — early mornings or evenings during the weekend when it isn’t too hot or early mornings on weekdays before heading off to the office. Unfortunately, most other tennis players have the same constraints. The parallels between making tennis court reservations and scheduling medical appointments suddenly became very clear to me.

Scheduling systems in most health systems (that are forced to operate under the scheduling framework provided by their EHR or scheduling application) have a resource-based view of their world. For example, if the diagnostic imaging department has four CT scanners, there will be a template that lays out all of the operating hours of each day down the page and the four machines across the top, and each “slot” gets assigned to a specific patient as their appointment is made. This template could either be electronic or on paper, and the assignment to the specific machine could either be real or virtual — but the logic still applies. This approach is also applied to virtually every other “countable asset” in the health system — radiation oncology machines, infusion chairs, MRI machines and so on.

Read the complete article as first published in Becker’s Hospital Review.

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