A regional health system in Europe approached Challenge to devise a solution that would improve the logistics of the client’s discharge process.
A regional health system in Europe was having difficulty discharging their elderly patients in a timely fashion. They approached Challenge Advisory in order to fully understand the extent of their care program, and to devise a solution that would improve the logistics of the client’s discharge process.
Challenge Advisory’s health team came together to understand the challenges facing the client. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding, the health team collaborated with the research team to construct a diagnostic to see how many patients were in hospital when they didn’t need to be, to understand the discharge process including the transfer of responsibility from the hospital, and comprehend where bottlenecks were arising. From this research study, it emerged that the client had several logistical issues in their organisation that were holding the healthcare organisation back.
Firstly, poor communication among various providers lead to information silos and stretched the time for discharge for the patients, also hindering effective transfer from the hospital for inpatient to outpatient. The information silos also resulted in duplication of effort for many patient workers. The use of nurses also stood to be improved, as they were often assigned administrative tasks that took away from their time caring for and discharging patients.
With this information in tow, Challenge Advisory worked to create a new procedure for discharge. The team recommended the installation of a discharge coordinator, which allowed for clear and efficient communication between all aspects of the client’s organisational structure, and placing less administrative stress on their nurses. Challenge Advisory also worked diligently to help to construct a business case that justified the investment in a discharge coordinator, showing the cost savings obtained by implementing an efficient discharge system.
As a result of the improved impact of the discharge coordinator, elderly inpatients can now be discharged as soon as is medically appropriate, and as a result, the client boasts an average stay that is 30% less than the national average. More importantly, the client has been able to establish and maintain this standard without compromising quality of care or patient satisfaction.
The changes showed the business justification to be prophetic, as the changes enabled the client to save as much as one million euros in the first year of the project—these savings went toward both the hospital and their various payors. In addition to this, closer integration of acute care, community health, and social care services has reduced the rate of hospital readmissions among elderly patients.