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Virtual Rounds Shorten Lengths of Stay

By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

An Arizona hospital shortened patient lengths of stay (LOS), improved throughput, saved money, promoted accountability, and alleviated care variations through a virtual multidisciplinary rounds (MDR) model.

MDRs are a time for many different types of clinicians to meet to coordinate and strategize how they will care for patients. The goal of these meetings is to ensure everyone is on the same page so patients receive the best care quickly.

At Yuma Regional Medical Center, researchers tried virtual MDRs via phone conferencing. These calls included hospitalists, nurse leaders, case managers, the clinical documentation improvement staff, and physical and occupational therapists. Investigators created dashboards to track real-time progress based on data from the electronic records. They later added unit-based discharge huddles to augment the virtual MDRs.

The authors reported mean observation hours declined from 44 hours to 31.9 hours. Virtual MDRs led to 60% of patient discharges occurring below the mean LOS vs. 52% before the initiative. Over 10 months, this program saved 3,813 excess days, resulting in savings of $6.7 million.

“Virtual [MDRs] combined with other interventions can effectively reduce LOS and observation hours. Decreasing variation among hospitalists and improved key stakeholder engagement can be achieved with virtual [MDRs],” the authors concluded. “More studies to test the effectiveness of virtual multidisciplinary rounds in various patient care settings would provide more insights.”

For more on this and related subjects, be sure to read the latest issues of Healthcare Risk Management and Hospital Case Management.