May 28, 2024

Not All Discharge Orders are Created Equal: The Myth of Early Discharge Orders 

By Lisa Meyer, Chief Clinical Officer and Balaji Ramadoss, Chief Strategy Officer, ABOUT Healthcare 


One of the most prevalent misconceptions in healthcare operations is the belief that quicker discharge orders automatically result in a reduced length of stay (LOS) and, consequently, improved hospital efficiency. However, this notion fails to consider each patient’s unique needs and the intricate tasks involved in preparing them for discharge. A faster order may lead to a quicker discharge, but it’s not a universal truth. 


Introduction to Edge Insights and Benchmarking 


ABOUT Healthcare, powered by Edge Cognitive Platform, is pivotal in enhancing discharge processes across diverse healthcare systems, from nationally renowned academic institutions, large health systems, complex cancer care networks to community health systems serving rural locales. ABOUT Healthcare has been adept at navigating the complex needs of these varied environments, gathering crucial data that confirms and challenges long-standing beliefs within the healthcare industry. The Edge Cognitive Platform synthesizes diverse data points to derive critical Edge Insights and Benchmarking that helps us better serve our health system partners, customize their processes, create predictive roadmaps, and most importantly, support the frontline staff in better care of their patients.  


We are excited to share critical insights derived from our extensive experience, offering a fresh perspective on an often-misunderstood aspect of patient care—discharge planning and execution. 


The Complexities of Conditional Discharge Orders 


Conditional discharge orders specify criteria to be fulfilled before the patient can be safely discharged. This could involve anything from waiting for medication effects to stabilize to ensuring a patient can perform certain activities without assistance. 


The challenge with conditional discharges is not to be underestimated. They require significant coordination and management. Nursing staff, care coordinators, and other healthcare professionals must ensure that all conditions are met, which can involve complex tasks and substantial documentation. This process can be time-consuming and require meticulous attention to detail to prevent readmissions. It’s a testament to the dedication and skill of healthcare professionals involved in discharge planning. 


This is where our innovative State of the System solution comes into play. It offers a crucial “at a glance” capability, allowing healthcare administrators to efficiently oversee and facilitate complex discharges. For instance, in a scenario involving a cancer patient requiring specific infusion treatments before discharge, the Discharge as a Service™ Lens enables frontline nurses to navigate these requirements smoothly, enhancing discharge velocity without burdening the bedside care providers. 


Tackling Post-Discharge Dependencies with Integrated Solutions 


Another significant challenge in discharge processes involves the placement of patients into the next, best care setting such as home with services, Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) or Long-Term Acute Care (LTAC). These transitions often require extensive coordination and can delay discharges, undermining efforts to reduce hospital stay lengths. 


The Edge Cognitive Platform which includes the Ensocare post-acute placement solution, addresses these challenges by seamlessly integrating discharge planning with post-acute care transitions. This integration surfaces critical dependencies early in the discharge process, accelerating patient flow. For example, when a patient requires specialized rehabilitation services post-discharge, the Edge Cognitive Platform enables the coordination needs swiftly, ensuring that all prerequisites are met for a safe and timely transition. 




ABOUT Healthcare is redefining the landscape of healthcare discharge processes with its unparalleled operational intelligence. The Edge Cognitive Platform provides an undeniable edge in patient flow management by curating finely tuned insights explicitly tailored for each healthcare partner. This unique approach not only streamlines patient discharge but also enhances overall operational efficiency and patient outcomes for the health systems we serve.