Reducing Length Of Stay And Readmissions Ahead Of Reimbursement Cuts, National Healthcare CXO Summit, 21-23 October 2012, Dallas, Texas
With healthcare reforms now penalizing hospitals for patient readmissions, many more hospitals are making an effort to reduce their rate, but doing that along with minimizing length of stay (LOS) requires the delivery of better patient care.
“A lot of our efforts are focused on communication, within the team as well as within the family dynamic and patient relationship,” says Robert (Bo) Cofield, DrPH, MHA, FACHE, Chief Operations Officer and Associate Vice President, Hospital and Clinics Operations, University of Virginia Medical Center. “Many of the things that we can and should do to prevent readmissions begin with the initial admission of the patient,” he adds.
How will reducing LOS and readmissions play a bigger role in a new healthcare system?
Reducing LOS is important on many levels. We must get patients to the next level of care as efficiently and safely as possible. With the advent of more insured patients seeking care in the future and the fact that some hospitals are full today, we need to be able to accommodate the next patient who needs healthcare services. The longer a patient sits in bed, the more resources will be consumed. In an environment where we have to focus on the cost of healthcare, eliminating inappropriate consumption of resources is critical.
The story is similar for reducing readmissions. Nobody seeks to provide bad care, but with government and private payers looking at ways to avoid paying providers, hospitals have to work with physicians to provide post-discharge support mechanisms to avoid a readmission if they can.
What steps could hospitals take?
Many of the things that we can and should do to prevent readmissions are during the initial admission of the patient. We have to make sure patients get what they need during their admission and post-discharge as that could prevent subsequent admissions.
We have a patient progression initiative, that requires effective communication among the team members about the status of a patient, and with the family about the patient’s course of care, in order to avoid surprises.
How can this help hospitals improve the quality of service?
We have mechanisms and systems to alert everyone of subsequent admissions fairly early on, to avoid repeating any mistakes we might have made, and to validate whether or not the readmission was appropriate. Our quality group looks at every readmission, reviews the charts and tries to identify opportunities for improvement.
Sharing data between hospitals in a community can also have a positive impact on care. People develop an affinity for certain hospitals or providers, no matter what care they receive, but if they choose to switch hospitals, we might never know what we did wrong. We are working with hospitals in the community to share our electronic medical records for this reason.
Does this all come down to having a better alignment of interests?
Alignment of interests is critical in a full contact team sport like healthcare. As an academic medical center, we are in a good position, but all hospitals need to partner with their physicians more aggressively than ever.
About the National Healthcare CXO Summit Fall 2012
This unique forum will take place at The Westin Stonebriar, Dallas, Texas, October 21-23, 2012. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on physician alignment strategies, perfecting the ACO model, improving patient satisfaction and experience, cost-containment case studies, the future of the US healthcare system and much more.
Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.
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