Reducing Average Length of Stay

HCOs can increase revenue and implement quality measures with d2i’s purpose-built analytics.

Improving patient flow is one of the four key areas where HCOs can use advanced data analytics to improve the bottom line and patient outcomes. (Others include preventing denials, eliminating coding errors, and determining the impact of operational adjustments.) Reducing the average length of stay (ALOS) — the amount of time from when a patient arrives to when he or she is discharged — is an important part of comprehensive hospital utilization management.

Hospital utilization management assesses the appropriateness and accuracy of case management, as well as length of stay, care coordination, discharge planning, and other factors.

ED Resource Correlations Impacting ALOS

Recent research shows a negative correlation between adequate nurse staffing and patients’ length of stay, as well as with the number of patients who leave without being seen (LWBS). But, lower nurse staffing is only one of the elements that can negatively impact ALOS. Another factor that might be affecting ALOS (and therefore overall performance metrics) is physician productivity. Optimizing physician scheduling by aligning physician productivity with patient arrivals can improve performance.

How High ALOS Can Affect EDs

Reducing ALOS allows EDs to handle more patients with the same resources, which can increase revenue, quality, and reputation in the community. However, reducing ALOS can be challenging. An ED often must handle unexpected volume increases without additional resources.

High ALOS can lead to:

  • ED crowding
  • More prospective patients who leave without being seen
  • Poor resource utilization
  • Reduced patient satisfaction
  • Adverse clinical outcomes

Improving patient flow by reducing ALOS and LWBS requires tracking metrics that impact length of stay and identifying which potential causes are modifiable and actionable. This is where d2i comes in.

How d2i’s Analytics Can Help

d2i’s Performance Analytics Application tracks the patient journey down to the lowest level of detail, capturing time increments and activity for each patient touch point, service, and movement. We can help HCOs track arrivals by hour of day, day of week, and acuity to provide insight into how best to optimize provider scheduling.

This information helps ED leadership identify bottlenecks and take actions to improve patient flow, including optimizing staff scheduling, adding telehealth, Advanced Practice Providers (APPs), or mental health resources, and reorganizing the ED to support specific patient groups such as fast-track, geriatric, or pediatric patients.

d2i’s Hospital Medicine Performance Analytics can help you realize the added benefit of smoothing transitions from the ED through observation, inpatient status, and hospital discharge. This creates additional opportunities for not only reducing ED ALOS, but also inpatient ALOS, as well as improvements in overall cost reduction, patient experience, and clinical outcomes.

A performance improvement conversation is only possible when HCOs are looking at the big picture. That big picture can be obtained with purpose-built analytics tools that allow for in-depth analysis based on harmonized cross-domain data. This analysis allows HCOs to have an effective discussion of which causal factors are modifiable and actionable, and what their potential impact is.

To learn more about how your HCO can improve patient flow and the bottom line by reducing ALOS and LWBS, contact us to schedule a 30-minute demo.