Flow Variability Management

The faculty of the Institute for Healthcare Optimization have developed an approach to address artificial variability in patient flow, which is a key driver of costquality and access issues in healthcare. In a nutshell IHO's approach involves identifying, classifying and quantifying different types of variability in patient flow, followed by smoothing of artificial variability, thereby creating the foundation for scientifically determining the magnitude of resources for various patient streams. The main goal of flow variability management is to increase patient throughput, decrease patient waiting times, and maintain or improve safety and quality, without commensurately increasing resources.

Key Elements of Patient Flow Variability Management

  • Separate scheduled and unscheduled patient flows
  • Eliminate / Minimize artificial variability wherever possible
  • Assign separate resources for scheduled and unscheduled patients
  • Resources for unscheduled patients should be based on clinically driven maximum acceptable waiting times
  • Resources for scheduled patients should be based on maximizing patient throughput and minimizing unnecessary waiting

Read more about our unique IHO Variability Methodology® services

Joint Commission Resources Book

Managing Patient Flow in Hospitals

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Guidance Document

California Healthcare Foundation Guidance Document

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