Use of Hospital Capacity Command Centers to Improve Patient Flow and Safety: A Scoping Review

Link to article at PubMed

J Patient Saf. 2022 Feb 1. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000976. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: Delayed emergency department (ED) and hospital patient throughput is recognized as a critical threat to patient safety. Increasingly, hospitals are investing significantly in deploying command centers, long used in airlines and the military, to proactively manage hospital-wide patient flow. This scoping review characterizes the evidence related to hospital capacity command centers (CCCs) and synthesizes current data regarding their implementation.

METHODS: As no consensus definition exists for CCCs, we characterized them as units (i) involving interdisciplinary, permanently colocated teams, (ii) using real-time data, and (iii) managing 2 or more patient flow functions (e.g., bed management, transfers, discharge planning, etc.), to distinguish CCCs from transfer centers. We undertook a scoping review of the medical and gray literature published through April 2019 related to CCCs meeting these criteria.

RESULTS: We identified 8 eligible articles (including 4 peer-reviewed studies) describing 7 CCCs of varying designs. The most common CCC outcome measures related to transfer volume (n = 5) and ED boarding (n = 4). Several CCCs also monitored patient-level clinical parameters. Although all articles reported performance improvements, heterogeneity in CCC design and evidence quality currently restricts generalizability of findings.

CONCLUSIONS: Numerous anecdotal accounts suggest that CCCs are being widely deployed in an effort to improve hospital patient flow and safety, yet peer-reviewed evidence regarding their design and effectiveness is in its earliest stages. The costs, objectives, and growing deployment of CCCs merit an investment in rigorous research to better measure their processes and outcomes. We propose a standard definition, conceptual framework, research priorities, and reporting standards to guide future investigation of CCCs.

PMID:35435429 | DOI:10.1097/PTS.0000000000000976

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