The Patient Flow Systems Framework was developed through state-wide collaboration that used Redesign Methodology to identify elements that contribute to good patient flow. 

7 key elements have been developed to enable a system wide approach to identify and resolve delays within the current system to create capacity.

Patient flow elements​ and ​patient flow portal


Structure systems around an expected outcome of better health care.

How the patient flow portal helps:

  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Emergency Treatment performance
  • Ambulance Transfer of care
  • Waitlist
  • ICU Exit Block
  • Clinical safety indicators​ 

Standardised practice

Promote best practice to lock in expected outcomes.

How the patient flow portal helps:

  • Reducing unwarranted clinical variation
  • Facility and ward  MDT meeting structures
  • ISBAR Handover
  • Transfer guidelines
  • Referral processes

Care coordination

Navigate patients through the health system to prevent delays.

How the patient flow portal helps:

  • Estimated date of Discharge
  • Multidisciplinary team meetings
  • Handover
  • Escalation of delays

Demand and capacity planning

Organise your service to build capacity.

How the patient flow portal helps:

  • Predicted ED presentations
  • Predicted unplanned ward admissions and ward discharges
  •  Planned admissions and procedures
  • Inter-hospital and inter-ward transfers

Variation management

Smooth the peaks and troughs to distribute the load.

How the patient flow portal helps:

  • Length of Stay
  • Waiting for What delays
  • Specialty Outliers

Demand escalation

Act early to preserve capacity.

How the patient flow portal helps:

  • Short Term Escalation Plan
  • Capacity Action Plans
  • Early warning flow indicators


Establish transparent accountable leadership


Evidence-Based Review on Smooth Patient Flow

The Ministry of Health commissioned this independent review to analyse the available evidence on the essentials for good patient flow and how the required systems for flow can be sustained.  The reviewers visited many hospitals around NSW and based their feedback on these visits and the available international good practice.

An Evidence‐Based Review and Training Resource on Smooth Patient Flow

Read the review and consider its implications for your hospital or service as you make plans to improve local access to care.  To complement the review, the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) have now developed a valuable set of targeted education and training resources.

Key Principles of Smooth Patient Flow has been uploaded to My Health Learning. This blended learning program has been designed for all staff, both clinical and corporate and gives a system-wide approach to managing patient flow. It contains resources to support more understanding of the factors that affect flow, offers a challenge in the form of a board game to allow the learner to test their knowledge and gives some continuous improvement activities. The blended learning can be done by individuals or by teams.

Current as at: Wednesday 24 March 2021
Contact page owner: System Purchasing