Themes Have Universal Relevance
I agree with the expert opinion expressed in the paper supporting the need for improved bed management. To my mind this remains the key challenge of managing outflow from the emergency department once a decision to admit or discharge is made. Here, the debilitating impact of "blocked" acute beds and the lack of rapid access to appropriate community care options, to my mind, remain the most significant challenges to be addressed. There are a number of Canadian-based examples of a successful application of patient flow/ bed management technology such as Strata Health's Pathways and Care-First products. Evaluation of the use of these systems in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver Island Health systems have demonstrated the significant benefits of focused bed management and patient transition across the continuum. This is one area where Canadian experience and innovation is leading the way, with adoption of this model now moving forward on three continents around the world.
In Canada, we have made some great strides to redesign and reengineer our systems, but rarely do we formally evaluate the perceived and real benefits of our efforts, let alone publish and share these learnings as an industry. I believe that there is an opportunity to learn from the findings and conclusions of this work in the NHS, but we also need to look carefully and critically within our own systems - to identify and share what works well, and what does not.
There are no magic bullets for success in healthcare, and, as an industry, we need to be more open to critically reviewing and sharing our experiences in areas where we share such common challenges.
About the Author(s)
President and CEO, Vancouver Island Health
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