The hospital discharge process is ripe with opportunities for improvement. Often there is a lot of hurry and wait while the discharge plan is arranged and approved. Simultaneously, in a tight timeline of a few hours the nurse tries to get massive amounts of instructions communicated, while patients are most likely tired, in pain, and only thinking about going home. In this situation, retention and understanding levels are low.
When the discharge process is not optimized, the following pains result:
Lost Revenue: It takes, on average, 102 minutes to be discharged, and the lengthy discharge process costs U.S. hospitals more than $3.189 billion a year in lost revenue.2
Readmission Risks: Nearly 20 percent of Medicare patients were readmitted within 30 days of discharge and 34 percent within 60 days. Unplanned re-hospitalizations cost Medicare $17.4 billion in 2004.3
Non-Compliance: Patients who have a clear understanding of their after-hospital care instructions are 30 percent less likely to be readmitted or visit the ER than patients who lack this information.4