Medical Device Daily

If you’re a decision-maker for a healthcare organization, or any company for that matter, imagine how much more efficiently you could run your facility if you knew ahead of time the different variables of your work environment so as to predict how to do things better and more cost-effectively, as well as being better ready for surprises and emergencies.

ProModel (Orem, Utah), while it has no crystal ball to predict the future, does have innovative computer informatics for futuristic planning in terms of business process optimization and decision support.

Its market targets are the healthcare, pharma and manufacturing industries, its software and support services designed to help companies predetermine results, risks and rewards of their processes.

To understand how ProModel can help a company, it recommends thinking of the facility as a collection of resources that are intended to function together cost-effectively. Now, what if you could dissemble all or part of the factory and reconfigure the pieces to find ways to make the entire system run more efficiently? What if you could actually see which new configurations work best and which ones fail by watching them for a week, a month or a year on a trial basis?

ProModel says that its software will test these multiple alternatives in a short time.

“We run models that give you tomorrow’s history today,” Kurt Shampine, VP of the company’s life science group, told Medical Device Daily.

The company’s healthcare-centered products include MedModel and ED Simulator.

The software is a simulation tool that helps hospital decision-makers build a virtual model using the specifics of the organization’s healthcare environment so as to predict future scenarios such as patient admissions, staffing decisions and cost containment.

MedModel is a simulation tool designed used in the evaluation, planning and redesign of hospitals, clinics and other healthcare systems, identifying inefficiencies in an existing process and test a variety of alternative scenarios.

Shampine said that the software has a wide application base.

“We build models of the actual environment; in some cases it’s an animated model, where you actually see people running around the facility. We build it with all the variability’s that happen within a hospital.

“For instance, if there was a bus crash, or any catastrophic event, you could model that scenario,” he told MDD.

The scenario is then incorporated virtually into the normal flow of the hospital so that the hospital administrator can evaluate how many extra staff, beds and equipment are needed in an emergency situation.

An additional feature of the software program is what the company calls “resource interdependencies.”

“Say, for example,” Shampine said, “there is a clinic near an army base. The clinic’s schedule could be highly predicated on how the army base operates. When are people going to be off duty, so that they can actually visit the clinic? The scheduling, the traffic and the staffing have to be aligned with that variability, and that is exactly what our tools allow [the clinic staff] to do — to build a model, either attach the data directly to it, or a spreadsheet interface where you enter different cycle times and schedules and have them be variable. Then have the actual model run many futures.”

“The reason you add variability is so you can run 100 futures with that variability and get a confidence interval answer back that is a robust way to run that process,” Shampine said.

ProModel offers software configured specifically for the emergency department (ED) facilitator. The EDS simulator enables its users to test possible solutions and alternatives to an ED’s most pressing problems, see the possible results and quantify the effects of changes on such issues.

Dale Schroyer, senior consultant with ProModel, explained how the program is designed to function.

“EDS is aimed at people that need to make quick decisions about operating the ED to its best capability,” he told MDD. “The ED simulator has a front-end interface and is user-friendly in a ribbon format, much like Microsoft Office.”

“Processes are done in trees [called tree folders], similar to Windows Explorer, so that adding or subtracting resources should be familiar to the user.”

Similar to MedModel, EDS builds a virtual ED experience, with all the resources, patient processes, typical patient loads, and the number of patients coming in per day/week.

The program builds all of this into a model and runs it through a specified time period. It then produces predefined reports using the ED’s exact operational metrics and presents them in formats that administrators are familiar with and used to seeing.

“We provide length-of-stay information as canned reports,” Schroyer said, “but instead of just giving you an average, we give you a whole histogram that also tells you the mean length of stay, the median length of stay, and then with a couple of clicks of a mouse you can slice through that info any way you want. You can look at it by acuity level or you can look at by what the patient’s final disposition was, discharged or sent on to hospital. You can be as specific as you want.”

ProModel was founded in 1988 and banners a list of prestigious hospitals among those it has served: Baylor Health System , HCA Hospitals , Mayo Clinic and Miami Valley Hospital .