Length of Stay (LOS) Deep Dive
Managing patient length of stay isn’t about pushing patients out the door as quickly as possible. It’s about providing the best, most appropriate and effective care in the optimum time, without unnecessary disruption or delay.
When caregivers are empowered to make the right clinical decisions with swift confidence, hospitals optimize length of stay to improve and sustain care quality, patient satisfaction, and capacity management.
Every unnecessary minute of a patient’s stay increases risks and affects outcomes and experience:
- Increased risk of falls, infections, and other hospital acquired conditions
- Reimbursement penalties for poor throughput performance
- Frustration and diminished satisfaction for patients with delayed treatments and discharge
Baselines and Data Related to Hospital Length of Stay (LOS):
- Common diagnoses for inpatient stays include birth complications, acute myocardial infarction, complications of device, cardiac dysrhythmias, mood disorders, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and osteoarthritis
LOS Affects Care Quality, Patient Satisfaction, and Readmissions
Managing length of stay improves performance in all metrics that matter for hospitals, including care quality, patient satisfaction, and readmissions:
- Patients are more satisfied and HCAHPS scores improve when they are not overwhelmed with excessive physician consultations during their inpatient stay, something that cognitive clinical guidance helps diminish. Research says “fewer inpatient consultations was the strongest predictor of patient satisfaction.”
- Research shows that reduced length of stay reduces readmissions, largely due to reduced risk of infection and hospital acquired conditions. As average LOS for VA patients dropped 27 percent from 5.44 days in 1997 to 3.98 days, 30-day readmission rates also fell from 16.5 percent to 13.8 percent.
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