Quick fixes for hospital utilization management

Clinical paths and case management solutions can take from three to 12 months to design and implement. While they’re in the planning stages, though, you can apply any number of rapid measures for swift results. The key is to sensitize staff to the resource management elements of their own jobs, says Patrice Spath, health care quality and resource management consultant from Forest Grove, OR. An attitude that resource management should be the sole bailiwick of the utilization manager is a lose-lose proposition for your enterprise.

Spath urges subacute quality managers to share reimbursement data with people in every department. Lead discussions of the impact of clinical as well as nonclinical operations on surviving in a capitated or per-diem reimbursement market. To keep lengths of stay on target, educate physicians about the wide variety of out-of-hospital treatment options.

Other targets for quick-fixes include:

• Equipment not available the day ordered.

• Dietary service fails to deliver advanced-ordered diet.

• EKG/EEG not performed the same day as ordered.

• Drug or bowel prep not given as required by procedures.

For a free download of Spath’s article, "Hospital Utilization Management Quick Fix’ Solutions," visit Brown-Spath & Associates’ Web site,, click on Original Articles. Or contact: Patrice Spath, P.O. Box 721, Forest Grove, OR 97116. Telephone: (503) 357-9185. E-mail: