5 strategies for hospitals to reduce inefficiencies and patient length of stay

Growth in the healthcare industry has helped to increase accessibility to services, but it has often led to operational inefficiencies. By using predictive analytics, healthcare providers can tackle these inefficiencies, giving clinicians and administrators the time and insight to proactively manage potential issues, resulting in improved patient care. Adopting these tools can streamline information, manage patient flow, simplify staffing and assess the future. Eliminating time-wasting tasks for the hospital staff allows them to focus on creating a positive patient experience.

Hospital IQ offers tools that eliminate the time-wasting and unduly complex parts of a clinical employee's day. During a June 16 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Hospital IQ, representatives from Melbourne, Fla.-based Health First and Des Moines, Iowa-based MercyOne discussed how predictive analytics streamlined everyday processes and eliminated inefficiencies in their hospitals.

The speakers were:

  • Brian Boggs, MD, vice president, medical affairs, Health First

  • Patti Canitano, division director, patient throughput, Health First

  • Joel Ward, DO, chief medical informatics officer, MercyOne

  • Diane Murphy, marketing director, performance, excellence, logistics and virtual care, MercyOne

  • Bryan Dickerson, senior director, healthcare workforce solutions, Hospital IQ

  • Shawn Melvin, director, product management, Hospital IQ

Here are the key takeaways regarding Hospital IQ's predictive analytics tools:

1. Develop frictionless information transfer across all staff and shifts. Hospital IQ receives data from various software platforms and presents it in one place. By reducing the time spent digging into charts and records, Hospital IQ's platform allowed Health First to eliminate 200 hours of manual data collection per week. "This has allowed our communication and transfer of information to be relatively seamless and save considerable time," Dr. Boggs said. 

2. Get a clear picture of what your hospital's near future needs. Hospital IQ's forecast and situational awareness tools allow healthcare providers to optimize their capacity, manage their patient populations in real-time and automate reporting to local and state agencies during COVID-19. Health First saved "multiple hundreds and thousands of dollars in supplies that we could have purchased if we didn't have the predictive analytics team within Hospital IQ," Ms. Canitano said. 

3. Ensure staff isn't taxed with time-consuming tasks. Hospital IQ's staffing tools streamlined the staff allocation process, enabling MercyOne’s nursing leaders to regain 25 percent of their time weekly to focus on patient care activities. "We took the process from being very reactive to a proactive process where we streamlined the workflows and made it really simple," said Mr. Dickerson.

4. Have a solid patient flow plan. MercyOne’s care teams would assess their observation patients each morning to determine their status and plan of care. Focusing on their discharge opportunities, MercyOne used Hospital IQ's tools to streamline the discharge process. This led the hospital to gain 100 beds a month and achieve a 40 percent reduction in the average observation patient's length of stay.

5. Determine what factors have the biggest impact on patient length of stay. Hospital IQ technology can give healthcare providers insights about how they are allocating their resources. Ms. Murphy said Hospital IQ "met us where we were with resource management" and showed MercyOne that echocardiograms were being over-ordered. By re-assessing whether these echocardiograms were required for each patient, MercyOne delivered alternative care options that allowed patients to be discharged sooner. 

To learn more about Hospital IQ, click here.

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