Discharge systems serve financial, clinical goals

In the past, hospitals have generally invested in systems which either helped with workflow management or supported patient care. Increasingly, however, hospitals are beginning to leverage discharge planning applications to improve both their bottom line and their clinical operations. For example, Swedish Medical Center of Seattle used its discharge planning system--a suite of Web-based applications from vendor ECIN--to place exiting patients in extended-care settings. Not only does the system save Swedish staffers many hours of phone and fax communication, it also makes it much simpler to place patients with complex conditions, as ECIN offers a database of more than 80,000 providers. Swedish also uses ECIN to track staff productivity and time elapsed from admission to referral. Swedish managers have found that referral times have fallen four to six hours on its 1,500-odd referrals a month, a huge time (and money) savings. Another provider, Martin Memorial Health Systems of Stuart, FL, has integrated its clinical IT system with discharge planning software, making it much easier to send clinical profiles to facilities. Also, Martin Memorial case workers now have time to spend with patients.

To find out more about these systems:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece