Putting the puzzle together: New capacity management hub to provide better access, patient care

October 26, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

Approximately a 6-minute read

Key takeaways:

  • It’s the job of hundreds of team members at Michigan Medicine to ensure patients are placed in the right beds at the right time.
  • Beginning next month, a new facility known as M2C2 will streamline operations by using real-time data to provide better, more efficient access to the organization.
  • The team behind the project has been planning and working hard to support the state-of-the-art center since 2015.

Every day, hundreds of team members balance the needs of thousands of patients at U-M Health. Growing numbers of patients flow into, out of and between units in a never-ending puzzle to match the right patients to the right bed at the right time.

Multiple members of care teams work with ancillary services to time specific steps of care that — when not sequentially or timely delivered — can lead to a longer length of stay.

Starting next month, the Michigan Medicine Capacity Operations and Real-time Engagement (C.O.R.E.) Center — or M2C2 — will utilize real-time data, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to empower decision-making and streamline operations. Here’s a look at the staff and faculty who will help to make this process easier.

A robust team

M2C2 will serve as a unified capacity center with several different roles in one physical location. The state-of-the-art facility is currently under construction on the second floor of the UH South connector across from the old Mott gift shop.

When it becomes fully operational, the space will permanently house patient flow coordinators, admission triage coordinators, admission triage associates, clinical expediters, management and support staff who will work with new MiChart dashboards, customized tools and redesigned processes to improve capacity. Capacity Operations consultants and various teams — including nursing, physicians, pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy and radiology, to name a few – will join them to collaborate in the refurbished space.

“If we get the right information at the right time to the right people, that will drive the right outcome for our patients,” said Vikas Parekh, M.D., associate chief medical officer for U-M Health and an executive sponsor of the M2C2 project.

Indeed, that’s the whole point of the new facility, which will have 32 screens displaying real-time information to impact decisions made at every level. Many of the analytics also will be available in MiChart and through an online portal.

“Getting patients into beds when they need to be there is dependent on getting good, real-time data in front of those making decisions,” said Maureen Thompson, M.S.N., R.N., administrative director of operations for the Office of Clinical Affairs and another executive sponsor of the project.

“We provide an incredibly specialized level of care here at U-M Health, often the highest level of care in the region,” Thompson said. “So we want to help as many patients as we can — which falls in line with our strategic priority of Access.”

Breaking down barriers

The center is an evolution of the Admissions and Bed Coordination Center, or ABCC, which included the traditional capacity functions of patient placement, admissions and the transfer center. This year, it has expanded to include clinical expediters, specialized staff who partner with care teams and ancillary services across the organization to remove barriers to discharge and patient care progression.

“Expediters are a new role to Michigan Medicine and represent a unique partner in care,” said Jill Sklar, M.B.A., administrative director of Capacity Management. “They receive alerts through a custom tool that detects when a barrier to discharge exists or a patient has been delayed on a typical care trajectory. After validating the information, they help the address these barriers through standard operating procedures developed with the teams.”

Between the teams and the analytics, M2C2 will need to collaborate well with those outside the center.

“We will connect with literally hundreds of personnel across the organization — from Environmental Services to patient transport, care management, sepsis coordinators and more to figure out where barriers are and help lift them,” said Max Garifullin, M.Sc., a staff specialist from the Office of Capacity Operations.

In that sense, the team is proud to also exemplify the strategic priority of Belonging, ensuring that their work is inclusive of colleagues at every level.

It also aims to make their coworkers’ lives easier.

“We know from our prior work that there are pain points across the system when it comes to moving patients from one area to another,” Parekh said. “If we can alleviate that pain, our care teams can focus on what they do best — which is taking care of patients and their families.”

A long time coming

The team behind M2C2 includes Parekh, Thompson, Sklar, Garifullin and a host of others — including Erica Herbst, B.S.N., R.N., administrative manager of patient flow coordinators; Christina Tikkanen, M.S.W., administrative manager for admission triage coordinators; Denyce Henderson, B.S.N., R.N., administrative manager for clinical expediters; Evan Huck, B.S., administrative manager for admissions triage associates; Jenny Pardo, MHSA, IT project senior manager; and Niki Farquhar, M.S.E., business process consultant. Many of them have been working since 2015 to improve processes, structures and policies to get M2C2 off the ground.

“When the pandemic hit, it just exacerbated the idea that demand for our services is high and we are challenged when it comes to capacity,” Parekh said. “That’s why we’re so excited to see our center come to fruition.”

Pardo echoed Parekh’s feelings: “After so many years of thinking about the design of our center, it’s amazing to see things become tangible and real.

“I know our staff will be excited to see our center open — and even more excited to see the positive changes that will come of it when it comes to the care we provide our patients.”

Stay tuned to Headlines in the weeks ahead for an inside look at the new facility, which is scheduled to open in late November!