Improving capacity management and patient flow across the system

In 2016, Keck Medicine launched a program to reduce patient length of stay in specific service lines. They knew the key to this was improving capacity management and patient flow across the system.

As a first step, Keck joined Vizient’s Capacity Management: Agility in a Time of Uncertainty Collaborative project in 2020 to discover how other health systems address this complex problem and learn about leading practices that could be implemented.

Through the collaborative, Keck developed a capacity management plan that accounted for the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and focused on initiatives in four areas: capacity management/patient flow, admissions, discharge planning and bed turnaround.

Initiatives dubbed “Just Do it” improvements addressed patient bed assignments and hospital occupancy. Using the Vizient Clinical Data Base (CDB), Keck looked at it its historical data on patient stays and hospital capacity.

A major benchmark that Keck utilizes as part of its capacity management work is the CDB Length of Stay Index by hospital. When the improvement work began in 2016, Keck ranked 119th among its customized peer group. As of early 2021, the facility ranked 12th in this metric within its peer group.

“Participating in the Vizient collaborative helped us get the right individuals in place. It pushed us to say, ‘Hey, we need to hold ourselves accountable.'"

Jason Willardson, MHA
Process Architect
Keck Medicine of USC

The collaborative brought together teams from across America to have conversations with subject matter experts, implement learnings into their own systems and share best practices for success. As part of the collaborative, teams:

Introduce and utilize a change management framework to develop clear structure and ownership goals
Define capacity management roles and responsibilities, reporting structures and data and status reporting needs
Engage physician partners
in improvement efforts
and leadership
Identify and complete
“Just Do It”
Medical experts


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