Discharge Times and Capacity
How many times have we seen patient flow projects that center around “out by 11am” or “home by noon”? It’s often suggested, “Can’t we put a sign in the room that says discharge is 11am?” It’s true, we need to create capacity early in the day to reduce wait times for early ED (emergency department) arrivals and early PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) patients, but at what cost? Is there really a need to get as many patients as possible out as early as possible, or is finding balance and staggering discharge times just as effective? There’s a key factor to consider before putting pressure on precious hospital resources to discharge early – Queuing Theory and the Utilization Curve.