Palmetto Health — Discharge Redesign Leads To Improved Efficiency On The Journey To Improved Patient Flow
At Palmetto Health System, our vision is to be remembered by each patient as providing the care and compassion we want for our families and ourselves. With close to 1,500 beds, 15,000 team members, and facilities that were typically operating at 95 percent capacity, it became apparent that we needed to find a way to improve efficiency by improving the way patients were flowing through our system. Specifically, some of our challenges included:
- decentralized patient placement, which resulted in patients not always being placed in the right bed the first time
- emergency department [ED] and post-anesthesia care units [PACU] holding patients because of delays in beds being ready for new patients
- upward-trending length of stay
Our executive team was also aware of the impact these issues were having on operations―as well as on patient and staff satisfaction. And so, with their support, a cross-functional team was created and tasked with analyzing our workflows and processes, establishing ways to improve efficiency and determining the best tactics to maximize our existing resources. Through our research we identified the discharge process as the area where we could truly make an impact, because in order to place new patients appropriately, we needed to find a way to help the patients who were ready to go home make that transition.
The team therefore decided that the first project would be discharge redesign, which would give us an opportunity to collaborate with individuals from across the organization, including nursing, physicians, radiology and case management. It also provided us with an opportunity to take a broader look at how the discharge process ties into overall patient flow strategy.
About the Authors
Hope Stack, RN, MSN, Director of Patient Flow Operations
Hope has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of South Carolina and a Master in Nursing Administration from Kaplan University. She has been with Palmetto Health since 1998 and has over 17 years of nursing experience, including over 12 years of nurse management experience.
Harmony Robinson, CHES, System Manager, Patient Centered Care
Harmony has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Medical University of South Carolina and a Bachelor of Science in Health Science from Clemson University. She has worked with Palmetto Health System for 10 years and has three years of experience with Nursing Research and Program Development implementing Patient Centered Accountable Care Units™.