Faster Access to Services Shortens Hospital Stay

From the outset, the Hopkins program was designed to improve patient care and cut down on wait times. According to statistics released by the hospital, the program has led to a four percent decrease in the overall amount of time patients have to spend in any one of the hospital’s 850 acute-care beds.

On average, inpatients are spending a quarter of a day less waiting for their procedures, and the average hospital stay has been reduced from 5.93 days in 2002 to 5.7 days in 2005. This savings is equivalent to having added 26 new beds to the hospital.

And the denial rate for Hopkins by health insurers, who do not always agree to pay for days spent in the hospital that cannot be justified, has also declined. In 2001, Hopkins’ denial rate was 2.08 days for every 100 patient days claimed in submissions to insurers. In 2003 and, again, in 2004, the rate fell to 1.85 days.

Specifically, in the last year, the data-driven program has led to 78 percent of the department’s admissions to acute-care beds doing better than nationally published industry standards for length of stay for a variety of specific diagnoses.

“Our results show that there is room for improvement in the way large teaching hospitals deliver high-quality care and that they can provide more of it without long wait times and to the better satisfaction of the patients we serve,” says JHH physician in chief Myron Weisfeldt, M.D., professor and director of the Department of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Our next step is to strengthen this program as part of the management culture within Hopkins and to see if other hospitals can adopt our efforts to form the basis of a national program.”

Weisfeldt also noted that “spending four or five days in the hospital is not uncommon for many patients and for a variety of illnesses and conditions, but we need to question whether or not it is really necessary to spend so much time in an acute-care setting.”; Source: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions