Report: Hospitals need real time data to make better use of beds

Moore, A. HSJ. Published online: 11 October 2016

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Real time data rather than a “midnight census” of empty beds could help trusts tackle flow problems and reduce delays for patients, a report from the Nuffield Trust has said.

Counting beds at midnight fails to recognise the resources needed to move people in and out of beds, and how that peaks during the day, the report said. Beds are often out of action for several hours while they are cleaned and bedclothes changed, patients are transferred and handovers completed. The report suggests that trusts achieving the four hour A&E waiting time standard need around four hours to finish the process. This can take up 2-4 per cent of bed capacity.

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