Notes From the Field: 7 Questions With Salma Mansour, Manager for the Hospital Operations Center, Stanford Health Care

“Notes from the Field” is a special newsroom feature highlighting industry professionals working to transform healthcare. In this edition, we spoke with Salma Mansour, DNP, MBA, ACNP-BC, Manager for the Hospital Operations Center at Stanford Health Care.

1. Tell us about your role.

As the manager of the hospital operations center at Stanford Health Care, I oversee initiatives and workflows focusing on improving patient access, patient flow and throughput, and capacity management across the adult hospital on a day-to-day basis and facilitate service line planning across the enterprise.

My team is responsible for the data and analytics related to patient volume and census, as well as various patient flow metrics. In this role, I work closely with the administrative nursing supervisors who manage bed planning.

2. What is one thing you’ve learned in the past year?

I have learned the importance of flexibility, adaptability, and adjusting to unexpected challenges. The pandemic taught me that. There’s a lot of change management and a great need to be resilient and pivot on the spot. I continue to use that approach today.

3. What inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare?

I have always enjoyed working with people.I was interested in social and clinical sciences, so a career in nursing seemed like the best fit for me. I wanted to make a difference in system practices and truly enjoyed working on improvement initiatives, so I transitioned from a clinical focus to an administrative one.

4. What do you see as the biggest opportunity to improve healthcare?

Improving patient access to healthcare by implementing advanced data analytics and AI-driven technologies. This could potentially enhance hospital operations, particularly for emergency departments, by better predicting demand to improve patient flow, discharge workflows, and resource allocation.

5. What is the greatest challenge facing healthcare?

We are seeing an increase in the demand for higher acuity and aging populations across clinical disciplines, with insufficient resources to accommodate after-hospital care, such as long-term healthcare facilities. This leads to additional strain on healthcare systems. We will likely continue to see higher acuity demand for comorbidities and their complications, as well as longer lengths of stay.

6. How do you envision technology playing a role in addressing this challenge in healthcare?

Technology can help reduce extended lengths of stay by facilitating remote patient monitoring and programs such as hospitals at home. Predictive analytics can help in early intervention to prevent the worsening of clinical cases based on risk stratification and streamlining discharge workflows. We collaborate with the analytics team, and that is the first step – to access data and try to do predictive modeling to understand our capabilities before seeking external resources.

7. What best practices have your team employed over the past year that resulted in meaningful improvement or outcomes?

We employ a capacity-management system that emphasizes data sharing and transparency across departments to help manage high patient demand for that day, as well as plan for the next day’s demand based on predictive models. This improves operational efficiency throughout the healthcare system, improves patient access, and reduces healthcare cost inefficiencies by improving resource utilization.

50 best healthcare data analytics companies in the US, per Newsweek (Becker’s)

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