Guest Column | March 2, 2012

Length Of Stay: Managing The Global Metric

By Darin Vercillo, MD, and CEO of Central Logic

The healthcare landscape continues to change at an accelerating rate. Apart from the constant advances in diagnostics, therapies, and procedures, we also face healthcare reform, shifting reimbursement rules, economic and competitive pressures, and much more. An entirely new vocabulary has also emerged. Terms such as ACO, patient flow, meaningful use, and core measures dominate board meetings and hallway conversations alike.

Hospitals and healthcare systems have long placed priority on quality initiatives to improve patient care, and comply with mounting government and payer requirements. In recent years, due to a tough economy and even tougher competition, optimizing efficiencies and included increasing revenue streams have become crucial. The passive organization will not survive. All must be proactive in their approach.

Length of stay is one area receiving particular attention because it crosses the boundaries of quality of care, revenue generation, and efficiency. Manage it well, and reap the rewards of a well-run hospital enterprise. Ignore it, and pay the price by losing quality rankings, reimbursement, and patient business. Length of stay is just one aspect of the growing science of patient flow improvement, focused on access to care, quality, and resource management. Process and technology advances in patient flow are giving visibility to, and addressing length issues of stay at an unprecedented level.