3 lessons NewYork-Presbyterian learned from using AI to reduce length of stay

Reductions in patient length of stay have been shown to reduce costs and improve outcomes. There are a number of ways for hospitals and health systems to reduce length of stay, the majority of which are time-intensive and center on restructuring existing operations.

To help bolster and streamline efforts to reduce length of stay, systems such as New York City-based NewYork-Presbyterian have turned to artificial intelligence technology from Qventus to automate care coordination, which not only improves efficiency but also eases the administrative burden on hospital staff.

During an Aug. 6 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Qventus, Courtney Vose, DNP, MBA, RN, APRN, NEA-BC, vice president and chief nursing officer of NewYork-Presbyterian, and Ryan Starks, MBA, senior product marketing manager at Qventus, discussed how NewYork-Presbyterian deployed the Qventus platform and the three most important lessons the health system learned in the process.

Getting started

Systems like Qventus' may be high-tech, but traditional leadership roles are still necessary in order to glean the most benefit from these platforms and drive actual change, according to Mr. Starks.

The first step, he said, is to identify issues both prospectively and in real-time, rather than assessing them after the fact. Next, when addressing those issues, leaders need to "orchestrate actions between frontline teams and ancillaries in an easier manner so they know what to do first, easing their cognitive burden from all these administrative actions," Mr. Starks said.

For NewYork-Presbyterian, this process began by identifying the disparity between their actual and budgeted variance in length of stay. "A very significant reduction was needed primarily because, for one, we were not serving our community well," Dr. Vose said. "And secondly, we needed to make sure that, because we're a quaternary care center, we could bring people to us whose lives may not otherwise be saved at other organizations."

With Qventus' platform prompting them throughout their daily routines, team members were able to more easily identify opportunities for improvement in patient flow, she said. The platform also made for more efficient managers: "It makes it so much easier because we can see when we round exactly how teams are performing," Dr. Vose explained. "It helps to hold the teams accountable in real-time."

Lessons learned

Once the platform was in place, not only did it help team members find areas for improvement, but it also illuminated several barriers to discharge at NewYork-Presbyterian, Dr. Vose said. Since deploying the platform, the system has seen a half-day reduction in average patient length of stay, and has been able to add 35 beds, with further improvements in quality and satisfaction expected.

Though reducing length of stay is still a work in progress, Dr. Vose shared the three most important lessons she and her fellow team members have already learned since introducing the technology:

1. Accountability is king: "Healthcare organizations do a decent job of identifying problems and deploying some tactics, but where we fall short is in the management of that," she said. The Qventus platform, however, offers a comprehensive "closed-loop system," with AI making up just one piece: Its method of sending "nudges" and reminders for team members to complete tasks ensures they are held accountable, leading to increased compliance and, ultimately, an improvement in the quality of care.

2. Get everyone involved: After 30 years in healthcare, Dr. Vose said this initiative was the easiest to implement, due to the simple fact that frontline teams were involved in designing and building the platform from the beginning. "They understood the 'why' from right up front," she said.

3. Don't be afraid: Introducing any new technology, let alone an AI-powered platform, can be daunting, so having the right vendor partner is key. Dr. Vose admitted she was initially wary of introducing AI into NewYork-Presbyterian's care coordination, but eventually realized, "AI is Qventus' responsibility. Our responsibility is operationalizing whatever we decide to work on … It's no different from the work that you're doing today — it's just going to make you a whole heck of a lot smarter in the way you're doing it."

To learn more about NewYork-Presbyterian and Qventus' partnership, view the webinar here.

More articles on AI:
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Partners HealthCare, Fujifilm developing AI-enabled portable ultrasound
UCHealth launches conversational AI-powered virtual assistant for Amazon Echo

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