Mobile technology and great software allow hospital systems to manage discharges with an eye toward reducing length of stay and freeing up bed capacity.

We’ve all seen it: physicians, nurses, care managers and patient flow specialists carrying a familiar clipboard or binder with printed patient information while they’re making their hospital rounds. You may even be a member of one of these care teams. U.S. hospitals have dozens of computerized systems for everything from medical records to housekeeping but, when the rubber meets the road, a lot of work is still done by taking notes on paper, then heading back to a desk to act on those notes.

There are many problems with that process: No one else can see your work, often causing the same questions about a patient’s status to be asked over and over; it’s much harder to coordinate with other members of the care team; there’s a risk of translating your notes incorrectly into one of the computerized systems; and, of course, it can add hours or more to patient lengths of stay by missing important details like tests or post-discharge placements.

Furthermore, while EMRs are great storehouses of clinical information, they’re not designed to help you take action to move or discharge patients. Those decisions come only after digging deep into dozens of charts throughout the day at a desktop computer or hunting for important tidbits like discharge conditions and test statuses. Patient flow specialists, house supervisors and care managers do this regularly to understand who needs to take the next action to move a patient through care: Are we waiting for the results of that stress test? Do we need insurance authorization? Is there a consult still outstanding? Does the patient just need the last physical therapy appointment before discharge?

Bringing the care team together — and literally meeting its members where they are — is the key to change here. Taking notes on printed lists, watching high-level patient statuses on a screen bolted to a wall, or wheeling around a desktop computer with unsuitable software just doesn’t cut it. Collaborative and intelligent mobile tools span across many sources of data and bubble up the most important information for care teams to act upon. Most importantly, these tools help prioritize patient discharges and suggest which ones are the closest to discharge. This turns your many data sources into a single operational tool focused on discharges, not just a pile of clinical tools.

Equip your care teams with a purpose-built mobile system that lets them know the operational status of any patient under their care, along with which member of the care team needs to take the next action. Hospital IQ’s predictive patient flow and discharge planning tools connect care teams, allow them to see real-time operational status of their patients, free them from their desks, and provide a way to communicate collaboratively across members – all on standard mobile devices. In a world where minutes matter for patient safety and satisfaction — as well as for the next patient waiting for a bed — hospital systems can truly drive down lengths of stay and facilitate smoother patient flow.