Maximizing Efficiencies Through Better Patient Logistics
Patient Logistics

Maximizing Efficiencies Through Better Patient Logistics

February 15, 2024
Daniel Smith

Time is money, as the saying goes, and optimizing patient transportation logistics is a valuable yet frequently overlooked opportunity for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) to reduce waste, control expenses, and improve resident experience. 

With future reimbursements closely tied to quality of care and responsible spending, SNFs have an opportunity to optimize operations. While health outcomes remain the priority, every minute that a vehicle or staff member sits idle is lost time and money. 

Empowering SNFs and healthcare professionals with the technology that streamlines patient logistics is VectorCare’s mission. (Curious? Read more about how technology can do this here.) VectorCare’s innovative platform helps reduce the friction and administrative burden by centralizing patient transportation scheduling and simplifying communication between healthcare providers and transportation services. 

With our agile, data-driven approach to improving patient logistics, we’ve identified 4 key areas of focus where SNFs can boost efficiency, maximize productivity, and streamline operations.

1. Ride consolidation 

The first area of focus should be reducing empty or near-empty vehicle trips. Here SNFs can work with non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) providers to analyze usage data and consolidate transfer requests. As an example, appointments each morning at nearby dialysis centers might be combined into a single van transport with multiple stops. 

Read the top 6 questions SNFs should ask when evaluating NEMT solutions. (One of them is what their reporting capabilities are.) VectorCare’s business intelligence tools allow for deeper analysis and resource management. 

2. A Reliable Network

To minimize canceled or missed appointments due to transport issues, SNFs require a dependable network of transport providers who can confirm pickup times the day prior for planned events. While overbooking vehicles is one way for SNFs to account for potential late additions or changes, having a pool of approved drivers on standby allows urgent requests to be filled when primary drivers are unavailable. With VectorCare, healthcare staff make no calls, instead using the integrated platform to send out dozens of requests simultaneously to approved, in-network NEMT providers in just one click.

3. Real-time Communication

One of the benefits of a technological solution like VectorCare is two-way, real-time communication between drivers, dispatchers, and facility staff. Critical updates can be shared immediately, whether it's a flat tire delaying arrival or a change in a patient’s condition necessitating adjustments. This closed loop vastly improves coordination and responsiveness. 

This level of communication between all parties can also facilitate prompt vehicle turnaround, which is another key area of efficiency. To keep the process flowing efficiently, drivers need to alert staff as soon as they return and assist patients to their rooms or the next mode of transport and, in the case of a technological solution like VectorCare, this step can be streamlined. The platform also enables real-time tracking and monitoring of vehicles, ensuring that patients are kept informed and hospital staff can make proactive adjustments if necessary.

4. Standardized Procedures

Finally, SNFs should analyze patient throughput and look for wasted time during the intake and discharge process. Standardized handoff procedures between transportation, nurses, and physical therapy staff help avoid bottlenecks. A breakdown in communication here often results in delays or mistakes. Facilitating communication through VectorCare’s platform for nursing and non-nursing staff decreases opportunities for errors, which can lead to poor patient outcomes.

In conclusion, preventable delays affect the entire system. An effective patient transportation logistics solution can be the difference between profitability or falling into the red. By maximizing productivity while maintaining great care, SNFs invest in their future.

Dig deeper into the state of scheduling NEMT rides in a SNF here or browse our Journal articles for more.