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J Hosp Med. 2014 Apr;9(4):210-4. doi: 10.1002/jhm.2154. Epub 2014 Jan 20.

Discharge before noon: an achievable hospital goal.

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1
Department of Medicine, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, New York.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Late afternoon hospital discharges are thought to contribute to admission bottlenecks, overcrowding, and increased length of stay (LOS). In January 2012, the discharge before noon (DBN) percentage on 2 medical units was 7%, below the organizational goal of 30%.

OBJECTIVE:

To sustainably achieve a DBN rate of 30% and to evaluate the effect of this intervention on observed-to-expected (O/E) LOS and 30-day readmission rate.

DESIGN:

Pre-/post-intervention retrospective analysis.

SETTING:

Two acute care inpatient medical units in an urban, academic medical center.

PATIENTS:

All inpatients discharged from the units.

INTERVENTION:

All staff helped create a checklist of daily responsibilities at a DBN kickoff event. We initiated afternoon interdisciplinary rounds to identify next-day DBNs and created a website for enhanced communication. We provided daily feedback on the DBN percentage, rewards for success, and real-time opportunities for case review.

MEASUREMENTS:

Calendar month DBN percentage, O/E LOS, and 30-day readmission rate.

RESULTS:

The DBN percentage increased from 11% in the 8-month baseline period to an average of 38% over the 13-month intervention (P = 0.0002). The average discharge time moved 1 hour and 31 minutes earlier in the day. The O/E LOS declined from 1.06 to 0.96 (P = 0.0001), and the 30-day readmission rate declined from 14.3% to 13.1% (P = 0.1902).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study demonstrates that increased DBN is an achievable and sustainable goal for hospitals. Future work will allow for better understanding of the full effects of such an intervention on patient outcomes and hospital metrics.

PMID:
24446232
DOI:
10.1002/jhm.2154
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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