Intelligent Automation Delivers Sustainable Patient Discharge Performance Improvement

Our series on patient discharge performance improvement opened with a review of why project-based initiatives don’t deliver sustainable results, detailing that the root of the problem is the massive amount of information that is created and maintained manually through written notes, text messages, phone calls, and conversations, and then siloed across clinical and operation systems.

We outlined our top 5 recommendations for optimal patient discharge practices, which are:

  1. Assign a day-to-day operational leader
  2. Develop a coordinated system-wide patient discharge process
  3. Implement a system for accurate predictive insights
  4. Identify patient discharge barriers and recommended actions for each stakeholder
  5. Eliminate communication silos

In the final post of this series, we’ll discuss how intelligent automation supports the patient discharge process by delivering the required elements for performance excellence, including:

  • Accurate, reliable, and accessible patient demand and capacity projections
  • Mismatches identified in advance of a hospital capacity crisis
  • Recommended actions to support a clear goal
  • Coordinated decision making across multidisciplinary teams at the unit, hospital, and enterprise level
  • Efficient collaborative communication tools that deliver real-time transparency across the enterprise

Intelligent Automation Consolidates and Analyzes Patient Flow Data to Guide Action

To materially impact patient flow and capacity, ensure beds are available for incoming patients, and reduce avoidable days in patient length of stay, an effective and sustainable discharge practice is vital. A key element in this process is a clear focus in every bed meeting to identify and prioritize that day’s discharges.

While bed meetings take different forms in different organizations, the goal is always the same:

Provide a clear, consistent, and efficient method to support caregivers through daily capacity and patient flow challenges, and equip leaders to identify the most impactful issues and support resolution.

To accomplish this, many data elements are required. Cross-functional team members must have access to clear, accurate, and consistent information, and the day’s goals must be in sync. The data required to facilitate patient discharge optimization is located in both multiple hospital IT systems and the intrinsic knowledge of individual unit care teams and leaders. There is far too much information, located in way too many disparate places, for any human to understand. Consolidating, collating, and analyzing this data to develop recommended actions in an effective timeframe is impossible for a human. This is the precise advantage of intelligent automation in a hospital operations management system.

These systems immediately integrate and aggregate the massive amount of data points across existing hospital IT tools, provide a clear forecast for the future so proactive actions can be taken, and provide a collaborative method to communicate detailed, real-time information about each individual patient in a way manual processes simply cannot.

To visualize patient discharge practice optimization tools in a hospital operations management system, below, visit our Inpatient solution page.

Patient Discharge Leaders Can Access Reliable Data to Manage Patient Flow

Patient discharge coordinators and unit leaders can then access critical details specific to their role and responsibility, such as:

  • Automated prioritization and identification of the most likely patient discharges for each day
  • Early identification of approaching capacity constraints at the hospital enterprise level and within each specific unit
  • Advance awareness to potential discharge barriers

Stakeholders can also easily communicate the collective impact on the enterprise overall via an intuitive communication platform that mimics common digital communication methods whether on smartphones, tablets, workstations, or command center screens, making sure the entire patient discharge team is always in sync across the enterprise.

Intelligent Automation Drives Effective Hospital Operations

Effective patient discharge and capacity management are significant factors in unlocking effective hospital operations in the best of times. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and staffing shortages are putting us in the worst of times, making discharge and capacity management crucial issues for hospital leaders. The project-based initiatives that have never delivered effective results need to be cast aside in favor of the power of intelligent automation, which allows hospitals to be more productive with fewer people. These AI-driven platforms have gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have for effective operations management.

Part 1 – Why Project-Based Initiatives Often Fail to Sustain Results

Part 2 – Top 5 Recommendations for Optimal Discharge Practice Improvement

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