July 13, 2007 — A hospital efficiency study conducted by Rapid Modeling of Cincinnati, OH has determined that strategically placed, wall-mounted workstations holding IT equipment, patient medications, supplies and medical devices have a greater potential to increase nursing staff productivity and offer significant benefits over the “central nursing station and carts” concept commonly in use at most US hospitals.
Rapid Modeling is a simulation, modeling and optimization consulting company whose experience in healthcare includes optimizing hospital layouts and whose clients include the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
Rapid Modeling President Nelson E. Lee explained, “The study took into account factors including location of medication, location of documentation equipment, and a typical number of medication cycles per day.” The study looked at models in which medication retrieval, preparation, and documentation were tied to central nursing stations and pharmacy dispensaries and then compared the impact of using medication carts, computer carts and wall-mounted workstations containing medication and IT equipment.
Using Rapid Modeling’s proprietary Layout-iQ software, designed to capture the information needed to model flow and calculate travel distance in a hospital, Lee’s staff determined that placing IT equipment and patient medications in wall-mounted workstations, strategically positioned in or near patient rooms, reduced the distance nurses walked by between 50% and 80%.
Medication retrieval, preparation, dispensing and documentation events were analyzed with travel between the nursing station, pharmacy, and the patient room factored in. Cart storage and retrieval distances were factored in for scenarios involving carts. Actual distance traveled in the models yielded results of 45,406 feet and 16,796 feet per day for “nursing station” and “nursing station with carts used on rounds” scenarios respectively. The distance traveled per day for the strategically located workstation scenario was just 8,387 feet.