Optimizing Load-Leveling and Streamlining Patient Transfers: A Case Study on Mercy Health – Toledo’s Top Gun Initiative

Imagine you are part of the emergency department team at a rural hospital. You have a patient who is medically stable but requires a higher level of care. You contact the acute hospital within your health system, which has the necessary specialists, seeking their assistance in admitting the patient. Unfortunately, the receiving facility has no available beds. Despite understanding the urgency of providing the appropriate care for the patient, the rural hospital faces a tough decision: either hold the patient or transfer them to a facility outside of the network.

This is a situation that many health systems across the nation experience including Mercy Health – Toledo, a health system of seven hospitals within the Toledo, Ohio community. Specifically, their rural hospitals sometimes struggled to transfer medically stable patients needing advanced care to Mercy Health – St. Vincent’s Medical Center, a Level 1 trauma center often burdened by overcrowding. This situation led to delays and operational imbalances across the network, prompting the leadership to seek an effective solution.

To tackle these issues, Mercy Health – Toledo partnered with Conduit Health Partners on the Top Gun initiative. This program aimed to expedite patient transfers, optimize inpatient capacity through load-leveling, and reduce the administrative burden on healthcare staff.

Critical to the success of this initiative were two processes: collaboration and immediate engagement. Conduit’s team, equipped with EPIC’s capacity dashboard, made strategic decisions on patient placements based on real-time data and facility services. Simultaneously, early engagement with transfer vendors allowed immediate action on transfer requests, saving valuable time.

The results of the Top Gun initiative were remarkable. Patient transfer times decreased by an average of 34%, direct admissions to metro hospitals increased by 54% per week, and the total number of communications required for transfers dropped by 12%. These outcomes not only enhanced operational efficiency but also improved patient care and satisfaction.

By streamlining processes and optimizing resource allocation, Mercy Health – Toledo and Conduit Health Partners successfully addressed patient transfer challenges. Inspired by this success, Conduit has begun applying these best practices to other clients, further exemplifying the impact of effective load-leveling and transfer strategies in improving healthcare delivery. To read more on the Top Gun initiative, click here

Contact us today to learn how Conduit Health Partners can help your organization.