A high-priority topic for many healthcare organizations is establishing an efficient discharge process. How can hospitals decrease the time it takes to discharge a patient? Hospital IQ has worked with our clients to develop the patient flow planner, a discharge automation tool that reduces length of stay through better patient flow management.

One of the most successful discharge practices we’ve observed at Hospital IQ comes from a client who has created a unique role focused on discharges: the discharge expediter. A discharge expediter’s main responsibility is in their title: decrease the time it takes to discharge patients. They actively look for barriers to discharge, blocking and tackling the roadblocks that arise, from an unfulfilled test order to arranging transport for a patient.

Prior to using Hospital IQ’s discharge automation tool, these discharge expediters used an Excel sheet to track discharges. The discharge expediters manually tracked information such as “last modified by”, discharge status, and relevant patient information. Beyond the manual data entry requirement, the spreadsheet had other limitations:

  • Reviewing the experience of a previously discharged patient to understand what had happened during discharge was tedious and troublesome.
  • Minimal functionality for communication, forcing discharge expediters to use other communication devices to connect with each other about the spreadsheet’s contents.

Hospital IQ worked in partnership with the client’s logistics team and Resource LPNs to launch the discharge automation tool for these expediters. The effect on workflow was immediate. Discharge expediters and resource nurses easily learned the tool and saw instant time savings in how quickly they could review high-priority discharge patients and efficiently communicate important updates to their team. Discharge expediters review dozens of patients quickly. Communicating the current status and any changes is essential to their job. The expediters take advantage of Hospital IQ’s built-in communication features:

  • @ mentions to easily send alerts to colleagues in comments
  • A messaging center to review previous communication
  • Advanced commenting features that allow the discharge expediters to pin relevant notes and even see who has read a note.

Less than a week after launching the tool, one expediter told us: “This is helping us with communication especially now that we’re so tight for beds. We put it in the planner and they [our colleagues] know about it right away.”

Discharge expediters and leaders can now look back in time and see a previous day, or a previous month’s discharges to make sense of and learn from any historical challenges to discharge. The patient flow planner also gives a look into the future, taking advantage of Hospital IQ’s predictive capabilities to identify likely discharges and flag them. In addition, Hospital IQ’s discharge automation tool gives the expediters a platform to create customized views of the same source of truth to fit their workflow.

From implementing best practices, to command centers, to setting discharge goals, hospitals spend significant energy and resources thinking about how to optimize the pathway to discharge. Hospital IQ is excited to partner with our clients’ discharge expediters. We consider the expediter workflow best practice when it comes to managing discharges. It’s a role we see in place at other Hospital IQ clients focused on discharges. We continue to learn from them, collect their feedback, and improve our discharge automation tool to help them succeed in their mission of efficiently getting patients to their next destination in their healthcare journey.