We hear it from prospects every day – daily patient assignment is an administrative burden. It puts a drag on productivity and unbalanced patient workloads contribute to healthcare professional burnout.
There is a better way. The better way involves automating your patient assignment process using a set of intelligent, customized rules while leaving the final approval in your hands and reducing the process to only 30 minutes a day.
The benefits go beyond time savings. Our customers report the following benefits:
- Reduced labor costs
- Improved continuity of care
- Shorter length of stay
- Better patient care
We’ve gathered up our top 5 articles about automating patient assignment to help you educate yourself on how it works and the benefits you could experience at your healthcare facility.
- How medaptus Assign helps organizations safely decrease patient length of stay and improve throughput
Safely decreasing length of stay (LOS) and improving throughput is an important metric for any Hospitalist program.
We don’t need to go into all the reasons why. There are lots of factors that impact your patient length of stay and throughput and one important factor that can often get overlooked is your patient assignment process.
If you’re currently using pen and paper, Excel spreadsheets, or making lots of manual moves in your EHR to create your daily rounding list, then it’s difficult to take into account things like:
- Evenly balancing physician workloads
- Ensuring no physicians are overloaded with New Admits or Discharges
- Evenly balancing geography while also preserving continuity of care
Read more: How medaptus Assign helps organizations safely decrease patient length of stay and improve throughput
2. Staying up all night and working on your patient assignment lists all morning?
In many hospitals, nocturnists, nurses or administrators are responsible for the next day’s patient assignment process in the early hours of each morning.
When I spoke to Northwell South Shore University Hospital’s nocturnists, they said that amidst seeing patients themselves during their night shift, they’re also finding time to manually put together the daily rounding list for the daytime hospitalists.
But here’s the thing: there’s only so much that a pen and paper, or an Excel spreadsheet, can do.
Creating the rounding list like this wasn’t so simple. Two of Northwell’s doctors, who oversee this, Dr. Sharma and Dr. Rosenthal, said they dealt with a lot of challenges like:
- A physician called in sick and the rounding list needed to be manually updated to reassign his/her patients
- The volume of patients coming in increased, as did the number of rounders and admitters, making the manual process unsustainable
- Nocturnists had to rush between seeing patients themselves and going back to their list-making duties
- Providers complained about having to round on patients in multiple buildings
- It was hard to keep track of where patients were especially as the week went on and patients were moving between departments
Read more: Staying up all night and working on your patient assignment lists all morning?
3. Continuity of Care: Hidden Cost of Manual Patient Assignment
One major danger patients and hospitals face with a manual rounding list process is the lack of continuity of care. If a patient is admitted on Monday and is seen by Hospitalist A, that patient will want to continue seeing Hospitalist A until they’re discharged. Hospitalist A knows the patient’s medical history, current situation, etc. – creating a more fluid process than if a different hospitalist were to round on the patient. However, the stars do not always align when putting together rounding lists manually.
Patients can easily be assigned a new hospitalist to round on them, especially as patients are transferred to different rooms, floors, or areas. The newly assigned hospitalist will need to learn about the patient’s status, medical history, etc. – a task Hospitalist A already completed. Patient dissatisfaction is a real factor in these situations as the patient will have to start the process over and repeatedly explain their medical situation to the next hospitalist in line. The more time the patient spends bouncing around hospitalists, the slower the process becomes to care for the patient and ultimately discharge them. When a hospital lacks continuity of care with their patients, length of stay can increase, which directly affects patient flow and safety, the longer a patient stays in hospital the greater the risk of an adverse effect.
Read more: Continuity of Care: Hidden Cost of Manual Patient Assignment
4. Physician Burnout is Higher Than Ever, Is Your Manual Patient Assignment Process Making it Worse? | Part 1
“I always have to see more patients than other hospitalists around here.”
“I constantly get more patients that haven’t been admitted yet that came in before my shift.”
“I have to run all over the hospital rounding on patients on different floors and in different towers.”
“My patients are always so complex – I wish I got the ‘easier’ patients like my colleagues!”
Do any of these complaints sound familiar? When creating rounding lists manually, it’s normal for hospitalists to feel like the lists are unfair. In fact, creating patient lists manually can actually lead to unfair workloads, without anyone intending it to. That’s because when done manually, you weigh each patient equally – Hospitalist A needs to see 15 patients today; and so does Hospitalist B. But what if nine out of the 15 are discharges? Those take longer. What if five are new admits? What if four of them are ICU patients? What if four of them are simple consult follow-ups? What if they’re on different floors or buildings? Suddenly, the workload isn’t so even anymore.
When you start to use software like our Assign software for patient assignments, you can put all these factors (and more!) into consideration, truly creating even workloads for your hospitalists. The end result? Less physician burnout and more balanced rounding lists – and you’ll end those complaints, too.
Read more: Physician Burnout is Higher Than Ever, Is Your Manual Patient Assignment Process Making it Worse? | Part 1
5. Balancing Continuity and Geography in Physician Assignments
In part one of this article, we were talking about the misconception that hospitalists are just a cost center for a hospital, rather than a revenue-generating program. When you start to look at the metrics they impact, like length of stay, then it’s easier to understand the true value they bring, and why you should invest in keeping your hospitalists happy, with a fair workload, to avoid hospitalist burnout.
Last time, we talked about how hospitalists bring down length of stay. So, we know that hospitalists bring more financial value to their institution beyond the charges for their professional services. We’ve looked at length of stay and how it can be impacted by hospitalists, and how that can impact your bottom line. Today we’re going to talk about CMI – Case Mix Index.
Read more: Balancing Continuity and Geography in Physician Assignments
Despite the technology available today, inefficient, manual, time-consuming patient assignment processes still exist in so many hospitals. As we enter a phase of financial downturn, it will become increasingly important for hospitals to allocate resources effectively, reduce labor costs and maximize productivity.
At Medaptus, we work with hospitalists and other healthcare providers across the United States to automate and optimize their rounding workflows. Talk to us about how we can help your hospital save on labor costs and so much more today!
- Download The Hidden Costs of Manual Patient Assignment eBook
- Book a demo of the Medaptus Assign solution