News & Events Decreasing the Patient Length of Stay

Decreasing the Patient Length of Stay

How Decreasing Patient Wait Times and Length of Stay Can Lower Risk of Hospital-Acquired Conditions and Impact the Bottom Line.

Patient length of stay (LOS) is one of the biggest issues facing hospitals today. The longer a patient stays in the hospital, the greater the risk they will develop a healthcare-acquired infection (HAI) that they can become vulnerable to. In addition, hospitals face lower patient capacities and increased costs.

Hospitals benefit from a shorter LOS. They do not have to cover the expense of treating an HAI and they free up beds for new patients. While it sounds relatively simple to reduce LOS time, in reality, this issue is fraught with obstacles. Here’s a look at how hospitals can work toward decreasing LOS, saving money in the process by using available technology to become more efficient.

The Importance of Length of Stay in Hospitals

The average length of stay (ALOS) in a hospital is used to gauge the efficiency of a healthcare facility. The national average for a hospital stay is 4.5 days, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, at an average cost of $10,400 per day.

Clearly, a lower ALOS is better for patients, who decrease their risk of developing conditions beyond what they entered the hospital to treat. Lower ALOS also helps hospitals in other ways:

  • High LOS has been tied to higher mortality rates.
  • Freeing up beds allows hospitals to treat more patients.
  • Inflation has led to higher costs for hospitals, which are searching for new ways to increase their bottom lines.

Reducing Length of Stays in Hospitals

Hospitals can reap many benefits of decreasing patient length of stay in hospitals. The most efficient hospital will also be the most effective hospital. Embrace technology to improve your LOS by streamlining clinical workflow throughout your facility. For example:

  • asset management – patients should never have to wait while staff search for equipment, automate PAR-level management to ensure equipment distribution is optimized
  • nurse call automation – enhance staff efficiency by automating call cancellations, time stamp staff presence, facilitate staff rounding (proven to reduce number of patient falls)
  • hand hygiene compliance – reduce HAIs by increasing hand washing compliance to keep patients safe
  • patient workflow – automatically record and analyze operational data and document patient milestones

Improving the Patient Discharge Process

CenTrak also has a patient tracking system that can help shorten the patient discharge process and decrease the wait time for other patients in need of a room so they can receive the appropriate care.

It can take hours between when a hospital discharges a patient and when the computer system notes their bed has become open. In that time, many people may be awaiting care, which puts off treatment and decreases patient satisfaction. Our Real-Time Location System for hospitals can tackle this problem. By tracking patients’ locations in real time and automating discharge notifications, it eliminates the gap between when a patient leaves the hospital and when they exit the system.

How does it work?

Each patient is equipped with a small RTLS-enabled patient tags attached to their hospital-issued ID bracelet. When the patient is discharged, they place their band into a CenTrak designated Dropbox. The RTLS-technology captures the patient ID and automatically discharges the patient from the system. An alert is then immediately generated to notify housekeeping staff that the room is ready for cleaning. This enhanced workflow improves room turnover time, and reduces patient wait times (while increasing patient throughput).

Increasing Hospital Efficiency by Using CenTrak
Contact CenTrak today for a free demo of our RTLS.

Sources:
https://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb180-Hospitalizations-United-States-2012.pdf