As far as we know, time travel hasn't been invented yet, so when hospital records show a patient leaving one area at a certain time and arriving at their destination two minutes earlier, something isn't right.
At the Essentia Healthcare Campus in Duluth, Minnesota, this discrepancy became problematic when billing the patient’s insurance company, who didn't buy the proposition that someone could be in two places at once, thus refused to pay the bills when that's what the records showed.
This is a story of how changing one aspect of hospital operations saved a facility thousands of dollars, illustrating just how important it is that all the clocks in your facility stay in sync.
The Essentia Healthcare Campus employs 6,500 people across 2 million square feet, so it's no small task keeping the entire collection of facilities in sync. And since time is of the essence when it comes to health care, Essentia couldn't afford to have any rogue clocks displaying the wrong time.
There are plenty of logistical reasons why you would want to be sure all the clocks across a medical facility are displaying the same time, but the financial impact is not to be overlooked either.
Inefficiencies Cost Thousands
About 10 years ago, the Simplex clock system in Essentia's Miller-Dwan building was showing its age. When Daylight Saving Time came around, the maintenance workers had to manually advance the old master clock, then walk the entire building to make sure all the clocks were accurate.
On top of that, the hospital was spending at least $10,000 a year on clock maintenance and repairs in addition to the costs associated with insurance companies refusing to pay the bill when the records didn't make sense. In fact, administrators saw the money lost due to the record-keeping technicality as the biggest reason for a new clock system.
The Solution: SiteSync® Wireless
Essentia solved its billing issue — and other inefficiencies — by installing an American Time SiteSync wireless clock system, which was the right choice for a hospital campus since it produces a time signal strong enough to keep clocks in sync across multiple buildings. As part of the SiteSync system, they placed 35 clocks in the Miller-Dwan buildings operating rooms, and 85 more in other locations throughout the facility.
And since the system could cover more than one building, they put the neighboring Polinsky building on the SiteSync system, as well. The changeover produced several efficiencies.
Maintenance staff no longer had to patrol the buildings to make sure the clocks were in sync, the medical campus was no longer spending $10,000-plus a year on clock maintenance, and the record-keeping problem was solved, leaving the insurance companies no excuses to avoid payment.
It all amounted to a lesson learned: being efficient means being in sync. So, if you're looking for ways to improve your well-oiled machine, take a look at the clocks. You might be surprised how much a seemingly small change can impact the bottom line.