Grady Health System aims to improve patient outcome, reduce length of stays

By David Pendered

Grady Health System has hired a company to help manage the care patients receive as they transition through Grady Memorial Hospital. The goal is to better coordinate care in order to avoid unnecessary time spent in the hospital.

Grady Memorial Hospital

Grady Memorial Hospital is one of the nation’s largest public hospitals and has hired a company to improve patient management to improve outcomes and reduce the length of stay in the hospital. Credit: ccagh.org

Grady and Alpharetta-based Care Logistics announced Monday they have signed a five-year contract. Terms were not immediately available. A page on the company’s website says fees are due only when the client “gets results.”

The agreement to try to improve the management of patient care comes as Grady plans a $165 expansion program – $145 million for a surgery center and $20 million to expand the Grady Infectious Diseases Clinic, located on Ponce de Leon Avenue. It comes as the number of uninsured patients is rising, and as the federal government debates the future of health care insurance.

Grady CEO John Haupert characterized the new relationship as part of Grady’s ongoing efforts to improve patient care at an affordable cost.

“We look forward to our partnership to improve patient experience and build upon the strides Grady has already made in our financial well-being, investing in new services, and improving the quality of care for our patients and community,” Haupert said in a statement. “With its focus on well-defined roles and responsibilities, the partnership also reinforces our commitment to employee engagement and retention.”

Patient management is one of the growing number of techniques health care providers use to improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of service.

Patient management also addresses a central concern cited by a non-profit entity that says it seeks to improve patient outcome, the National Transitions of Care Coalition. The NTCC observes:

grady memorial hospital, ER

An Alpharetta-based company is to help Grady Memorial Hospital coordinate the care of patients as they transition from various departments, such as from the emergency to X-ray to a hospital room. Credit: mccarthy.com

  • “The healthcare industry works hard to create the best care delivery within each practice setting and area of responsibility. However, it is when patients transition between these settings that dangerous situations may arise – not through any fault of the professionals involved, but because the system is very complex with no clearly defined specific responsibilities for effective patient hand-offs.”

These are the highlights of the Hospital Operating System:

  • “Improve coordination between all patient care areas such as diagnostic areas, nursing units, the emergency department, surgical & procedural services, etc. Currently, coordination can be complicated and result in delays to patient progression and discharge.
  • “Create a common patient progression plan and length-of-stay target that is shared hospital-wide so the patient’s care team can access it and stay the course to keep the patient on schedule to their targeted treatment and recovery plan.
  • “Improve bed placement and management of beds and staff to insure patients are being placed in units that will give them optimal care based on their needs.
  • “Resolve and eliminate barriers so that patients progress more easily to their discharge target.”

The culmination of these objectives is to ensure “all patients are managed toward an appropriate length of stay and a timely and appropriate discharge. Research shows that patients with unnecessary, extended hospital stays risk more negative outcomes including greater chances of injury and contracting other illnesses,” according to a statement released by Care Logistics.

“Hospital leaders and care providers are faced with enormous challenges today,” Karl Straub, President of Care Logistics, said in a statement. “We are pleased to partner with Grady in transforming their operations to meet those challenges. By focusing on delivering efficient, reliable, and predictable care across their organization, Grady is ensuring a high-performance environment that delivers positive outcomes for patients.”

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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