Essay on Short Patient Length of Stay: Benefits for Medical Facilities

Published: 2023-10-29
Essay on Short Patient Length of Stay: Benefits for Medical Facilities
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Medicine Healthcare
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1656 words
14 min read


Patient length of stay is one of the biggest problems experienced by medical facilities. There are various challenges associated with patient length of stay in the hospital setting, such as healthcare-acquired infection. Moreover, hospitals could also experience challenges such as low patient capacities as well as increased costs that would be difficult to address. Even so, hospitals can benefit from the short patient length of stay. For instance, the facilities would not need to address the costs of resources associated with healthcare-acquired infections. High patient length of stay has been attributed to increased rates of mortality in the affected settings. This is so since more patients lack hospital beds from where they could access their desired medical services. Patient length of stay can be related to the efficiency of medical setting management. An inefficient hospital would have high numbers of infections as well as the related patient side effects. Nonetheless, there would be a decreased quality of treatment and lesser profits.

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Patient length of stay is measured in the number of days spent at the hospitals. For instance, a patient admitted due to cancer could record a patient's stay of the date of discharge minus the date of admission. In some cases, patients are admitted and discharged the same day, a phenomenon from which they record a length of stay of less than a day. Care facilities ought to ensure that the patient's length of stay is close to zero for better efficiency in terms of resources and care provision. Almost every country has had a quality improvement opportunity in the healthcare sector. As a result, there is a need to have various quality improvement initiatives aimed at reducing patient length of stay for better efficiency and quality care.

Importance of Quality Improvement Initiatives

Quality improvement initiatives in medical settings are important as they concern the various systematic activities aimed at monitoring, assessing, and improving the quality of care. Besides, medical facilities are mandated to provide clients with the best services that address patient needs, uphold patient safety, cause patient satisfaction, and make the general system sustainable. Some hospitals are targeting particular goals by redesigning the quality improvement systems into more reliable and cost-effective ones for better services. Continuous up-gradation is one of the most common practices that hospitals take up to ensure that they turn from being inefficient into being effective in the provision of care. Successful quality improvement initiatives would always include various principles of quality improvement for better performance and a well-organized healthcare system.

Quality improvement initiatives are sometimes complicated in nature and demand intense resources to create and maintain. While the health systems are overwhelmed, realizing the opportunities early and addressing them as soon as possible before the problems exacerbate is important for the best services in healthcare. Effective quality improvement initiatives could create a medical setting with an adaptive culture, leadership, and good governance. Besides, hospitals would realize the best alternatives in adoption, value-based care, and healthcare analytics. Besides, quality improvement initiatives could contribute to the reduction of medical errors that result from various faulty processes and systems. For instance, hospitals that practice quality improvement could have effective health insurance systems and good patient-physician relationships. While striving to improve care and affordability in medical settings, various management should still consider the various critical requirements to build and maintain effective initiatives.

Previous Research Results

According to Toh et al. (2017), patient length of stay has been attributed to increased risks of hospital-acquired infections for older patients. Besides, high lengths of stay have also altered patient flow at the medical settings and caused insufficient access to medical care because of the shortages of beds and client resources for care. There has been a need to identify the problem early and manage it as soon as possible to meet improved patient outcomes and hospital goals (Toh et al., 2017). Similarly, Baek et al. (2018) noted the importance of various quality improvement initiatives to address the length of stay and, consequently, the efficiency of hospital management. There is a great correlation between patient length of stay and the risks of infection, quality of care, and hospital costs and revenues (Baek et al., 2018).

The delivery of quality care is an important goal for medical settings, hence the demand for quality improvement initiatives. For instance, patients who suffer from the same condition could experience the same complex factors and exhibit different negative outcomes from poor quality care. Research by Bennett et al. (2016) yielded multiple results that improved patient outcomes are attributed to quality care, which is enhanced through quality improvement initiatives. The length of stay has multiple benefits to the patient, their carers, and the medical personnel. Besides, Bennett et al. (2016) noted that there is a better allocation of resources associated with improved quality care in the medical facilities. Inpatient length of stay has been linked to the quality of care offered by the management, the services received by patients, and the contributions made to the society (Bradywood et al., 2017). Therefore, step by step, quality improvement initiatives are necessary for the improved patient length of stay.

Steps to Implement the Quality Improvement Initiative

One of the key quality improvement initiatives in medical facilities is working as systems and processes. Medical facilities should understand the processes involved in their delivery systems and processes. Most organizations go wrong because of considering the systems and processes as small and simple methods of delivering quality care. Additionally, some may also perceive the systems and processes as being big and complex. However, the key method aimed at delivering quality care and getting a low record of patient length of stay involves the input-process-output strategy (Jahangoshai Rezaee et al., 2016). Organizations that are utilizing the work as systems and processes system tend to record effective health service delivery systems. Besides, the organizations have the human capital and machine in the facility performing the work through various resources such as information and technology to offer quality care to the patients.

Some of the steps that could be implemented in the quality management initiative include asset management, hygiene compliance, and patient workflow. For instance, hospitals should implement the input-process-output strategy such that the clients should never have to wait while the staff in the medical facilities find the necessary equipment to address their needs (Rosen et al., 2018). One of the most common and workable methods for asset management would include utilizing automatic PAR-level management that is aimed at ensuring that equipment distribution is made effective. Besides, compliance with general hospital hygiene could effectively mitigate healthcare-acquired infections that increase the patient's length of stay. Nonetheless, positive patient outcomes, such as patient safety and satisfaction, could be realized. Hospitals could also ensure that they can automatically record patient workflow to better retrieve data upon request. As a result, there would be minimal time wastage, and in the end, reduced patient length of stay.

Evaluating the Quality Improvement Initiative

Outcome evaluation questions, a consideration of various outcomes of interest, and indicators can be effectively used to measure the success of the quality improvement initiative. For instance, the input-process-output initiative could be questioned for the milestones that have already been performed and utilized effectively in the care systems. Additionally, the outcomes would then be compared to that which was initially planned while building the initiative. Finally, the quality improvement initiative would be measured on whether there has been less administrative burden and costs associated with the delivery system. Patients would also be asked for a survey on the level of satisfaction and safety with the quality improvement program. Patient feedback would create a good opportunity for the advancement of the areas that were realized as a miss in the initial program before full and intense implementation.

The implementing facility would later consider whether there is enough evidence of knowledge and behavior change amongst both the carers and clients. The various health outcomes that are documented among the clients can also be measured to determine the extent of the quality improvement program. Some of the important considerations would include improvements in blood pressure controls. The one-sample statistical test would then be implemented to determine the extent of outcomes in relation to quality care. The two-sample t-test for the hypothesis evaluation technique would then be implemented to determine the effectiveness of the initiative. Therefore, the key evaluation areas would include the health care system changes, provider changes, behavioral changes, and the health outcomes and benefits to the patients and carers.


Baek, H., Cho, M., Kim, S., Hwang, H., Song, M., & Yoo, S. (2018). Analysis of length of hospital stays using electronic health records: A statistical and data mining approach. PLOS ONE, 13(4), e0195901.

Bennett, M., Schulman, J., Gould, J., Profit, J., & Lee, H. (2016). Estimating length of stay by patient type in the neonatal intensive care unit. American Journal of Perinatology, 33(08), 751-757.

Bradywood, A., Farrokhi, F., Williams, B., Kowalczyk, M., & Blackmore, C. C. (2017). Reduction of inpatient hospital length of stay in lumbar fusion patients with implementation of an evidence-based clinical care pathway. SPINE, 42(3), 169-176.

Jahangoshai Rezaee, M., Yousefi, S., & Hayati, J. (2016). A decision system using a fuzzy cognitive map and multi-group data envelopment analysis to estimate hospitals' outputs level. Neural Computing and Applications, 29(3), 761-777.

Rosen, M. A., DiazGranados, D., Dietz, A. S., Benishek, L. E., Thompson, D., Pronovost, P. J., & Weaver, S. J. (2018). Teamwork in healthcare: Key discoveries enabling safer, high-quality care. American Psychologist, 73(4), 433-450.

Toh, H., Lim, Z., Yap, P., & Tang, T. (2017). Factors associated with prolonged length of stay in older patients. Singapore Medical Journal, 58(3), 134-138.

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