Efforts Designed to Ease Patient Transfer, Experience at
By Bernard S. Little
WRNMMC Command Communications
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center leadership and staff
cut the ribbon to open the hospital's new Patient Coordination Center in
Building 10 Jan. 8.
The PCC provides a one-call process for unplanned inpatient
transfers from Walter Reed Bethesda clinics, Emergency Department and external
facilities, according to Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Autumn Richards of the Directorate
of Medicine at WRNMMC who championed efforts creating the center.
The center serves as "the hub for expedited
admissions," according to Richards, a pediatrician. She added the PCC
provides "a true one-call process increasing efficiency, eliminating
administrative burden, improving the provider-and-patient experience and
enhancing relationships with referring facilities."
Richards explained that it previously took on average of six
calls per patient transfer into WRNMMC because of lack of integration and
inefficiency, which caused frustration for all parties involved. The PCC now
co-locates patient admission services to include the nursing officer-of-the-day
and patient administration. She furthered that a pilot study of the PCC showed
a 25 percent reduction in time per admission.
Robert Weiler, health care administrator in the Department
of Patient Administration at WRNMMC, was also instrumental in creating the
center. He explained a “multidisciplinary team of providers, administrators and
information technology professionals worked diligently to fulfill the vision
articulated by Dr. Paul Florentino many years ago [of] a Provider One Call
system. [This would mean] a provider outside of our facility could make one
phone call to speak with our providers and have a patient accepted for care. We
are rapidly approaching that day here,” he furthered.
Weiler added the PCC will be staffed “24/7/365 with an
administrative facilitator and the NoD. “During normal working hours, there will
also be support from our External Programs Office (EPROs). This trained team
will receive calls from outside providers, facilitate a conversation with one
or more of our providers and coordinate the needs of getting our beneficiaries
back into our facility,” he explained.
“With the opening of our PCC, we continue to move forward
with improvements to our ability to provide world-class patient health care in
a truly patient- and family-centered format,” Weiler added.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Navy Capt. (Dr.) Mark
Kobelja, WRNMMC director, commended staff efforts within the hospital for their
around-the-clock efforts. He called operation of the hospital a 24-7 endeavor
that includes many team players. Those include staff in the emergency department,
on the wards, in critical care units, the blood bank, laboratories and other
places at the medical center who work as a team with PAD and provide services
essential for patient safety and quality care. “The PCC is [now a] part of that
effort,” he added.
He called the PCC “a great initiative” which was generated
by staff and not directed by leadership. “This was our people saying, ‘We have
to do better [for those we serve]. I hope all of you are inspired by that and
go back to your areas and ask yourself and team, ‘How can we do it better?’”