Improving Patient Flow at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Project: Research project

Project Details


A study of RIC’s new building that aims to develop and evaluate policies for patient transport (including the scheduling of elevators and adequacy of RIC staff and volunteers to assist with transportation) is proposed. The goals of this study are: 1. Identify appropriate and quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate transport policies, focusing significantly on metrics that capture patient experience. 2. Create a process map, which is a pictorial representation of the sequence of actions that comprise a process. The process map documents the work that is necessary to transport patients. It is used to identify areas of improvement, and will guide the development of a simulation model for patient transport. 3. Collect data under the supervision of RIC personnel. Data will be used as inputs for simulation models (see 5 below) a. Transport demand. Demand data will be derived from patient therapy schedules, categorized by patient transport ability. In addition, we will incorporate demand from other users of the elevators (e.g., visitors, doctors, nurses). b. Facility transit times – Patients will travel across 7 floors with 8 elevators. Transit times depend on elevator speed and operating policy, floor locations, and distances between elevator and pick-up/drop-off locations. c. Resources – Elevators, nurses, volunteers and staff available are limited resources. We will consider the location and flow of such resources. 4. Brainstorm patient transport policies (including scheduling of elevators and RIC staff and volunteers to assist with transportation). 5. Build a validated simulation model to evaluate proposed patient transport policies relative to identified performance metrics. In order to achieve the above goals, the project will begin with brainstorming sessions with RIC personnel to receive input on the above goals. One early task is the development and implementation of a data collection procedure under the supervision and guidance of the RIC personnel. Throughout the research timeline, RIC personnel will be consulted on the validity of intermediate findings and procedures before the next activity begins.
Effective start/end date6/1/162/28/17


  • Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (Agreement 8/19/16)


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