Process Flow Analysis in Healthcare

Process Flow Chart: Emergency Department Patient Admission

Process Flow Chart: Emergency Department Patient Admission

Process Flow Analysis

The process analyzed in this process flow chart is the admission of patients in a hospital. Patients enter through the emergency department (ED), where they undergo registration upon arrival before being sorted to establish the priority of different cases. If the ED bed is needed, its availability is determined. In case an ED bed is not available, the patient goes through the patient demographic query (PDQ) for discharge or waits for the availability of the bed.

If the ED bed is available, the patient is sent to a nurse who prepares him or her for the initial exam before an ED physician makes primary observations. The ED doctor then requests for tests done by the nurse, and after getting the results, s/he decides if further consultation is needed. The patient is treated and discharged if more consultation is not required. However, if a consultation is needed, the ED doctor places a request for the same, and other specialists determine if admission is required.

At this point, a patient is referred back to the ED physician for treatment, or s/he is admitted for inpatient ward care. I collected the information used in this analysis by visiting the emergency department to see what normally happens when a patient is brought into the hospital. I also talked to nurses in the department to understand the protocol of handling cases.

White Spaces and Strategies for Improving the Process

According to CareLogistics (n.d.), white spaces refer to tasks that add no value to a process. One of the outstanding white areas in this process flow analysis is the separation of the PDQ process from the triage step. After the sorting and establishing the priority of cases, the necessity of the ED bed is noted before proceeding. After the PDQ process, a patient may be directed to the waiting room before being taken to the ED bed. The PDQ process could be merged with the triage step to avoid duplication of roles. With the merged functions, discharge cases can be determined before moving the rest to the ED bed for further examination.

The Usefulness of Process Flow Analysis in Financial Decision Making

Process flow analysis allows the management team to establish tasks that add no value to the ultimate service provision in healthcare organizations (Thorpe, Kovach, Vins, & Stefanak, 2010). Such redundant tasks can be eliminated, thus averting the wastage of resources. Consequently, financial decision-making focuses on allocating funds to areas of maximum utility, hence the realization of lean management (Jenkins & Eckel, 2012). If the process-flow analysis tool is not used, organizations will end up making poor financial decisions and allocating resources to redundant tasks or areas with overlapping functions (Baker, Baker, & Dworkin, 2018). As such, the organization will be making unnecessary losses, which could be avoided.


Baker, J. J., Baker, R. W., & Dworkin, N. R. (2018). Health care finance: Basic tools for nonfinancial managers (5th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

CareLogistics. (n.d.). Hospital operating system: Unleashing throughput potential. Web.

Jenkins, A., & Eckel, S. (2012). Analyzing methods for improved management of workflow in an outpatient pharmacy setting. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 69(11), 966–971.

Thorpe, L., Kovach, S., Vins, W., & Stefanak, M. (2010). Business process analysis and redesign methods: Improving response to telephone-based reports in a local health department. Public Health Reports, 125(6), 903–908.