Why worry about patient progression?

When it comes to your hospital, you want the best possible care for your patients. Some of the biggest issues impacting quality patient care are patient progression barriers. For example, medical delays take an average of two days to resolve. When your patients exceed their target LOS, they often face unexpected complications, and hospitals frequently experience bottlenecks when patient flow is interrupted. In order to prevent these barriers from impacting patient care, every department in your facility should be focusing on streamlining patient progression.

Medical Progression delays affect length of stay greatly
Avoid additional days to LOS with patient progression optimization

To solve issues with patient progression, you have to start by defining it.

So, what is patient progression? In short, it is the advancement of the hospitalized patient through the required care events, actions and processes to achieve a health status where the patient can be safely and appropriately transitioned to a lower level of care. When patients are moved through care at the proper rate, you avoid issues with patient flow and prevent bottlenecks before they happen. This concept seems fairly straightforward, but the issue itself can be quite complex. In order to progress a patient smoothly and efficiently through your hospital, dozens of departments, physicians, nurses, and other staff members must communicate and coordinate effectively to create an optimal plan for each patient. This can be incredibly difficult depending on the volume of patients, workload of the staff, service availability, hospital capacity, and many other factors.

Definining patient progression: the advancement of hospitalized patients through the required care events, actions, and processes to achieve a health status where the patient can be safely and appropriately transitioned to a lower level of care.

What are some of the most common barriers to patient progression?

If you’re struggling with patient flow, barriers to patient progression could be the culprit.

Below we have detailed the most common categories of patient progression barriers. As shown in the graphic, Medical/Progression barriers are the most commonly reported, followed by Medications/IV Med delays and Physician delays. Each time one of these barriers interferes with a patient’s care, their length of stay can increase significantly. For example, the average Medical/Progression delay impacts a patients stay by 48 hours and 30 minutes. That’s over 2 days added to LOS from just one delay. Barriers may be unavoidable, but recognizing them before it’s too late is an essential step in making sure patient care can be set back on track and appropriate discharge can still be met.

If your facility is struggling with streamlining patient flow, patient progression barriers may be to blame. Click the button to read our full study.

Find out if patient progression issues are affecting your patients' care.

Your hospital may be experiencing more issues stemming from patient progression than you think.

Has your ED ever been so crowded that patients leave without receiving treatment? Has a patient been scheduled for an important test that conflicts with other essential activities? Has a patient ever missed their targeted discharge date because of a delay in discharge activities? Do your patients lack defined LOS goals? Is patient satisfaction suffering? These are all very common issues that all stem from one problem: inefficient patient progression. Many patient flow issues can be traced back to a lack of focus on patient progression.

Not sure if patient progression is part of your patient flow strategy? Take a look at some of the key questions you can use to determine if your organization is making patient progression a priority.

Streamline Patient Progression

Now that you’ve identified the barriers to patient progression, how do you avoid them?

Your first step should be setting real goals. Having length of stay goals for each and every patient is key to making sure patients are discharged in a timely manner. Giving your team real-time progression updates and communicating efficiently and effectively are also key factors in streamlining patient progression. One of our subject matter experts Bob Gleason-Moore RN, MN dives into more detail on these key points here.

Beyond LOS goals, there are some additional steps you can take to improve patient progression, including standardizing care plans, assigning appropriate DRGs, and adopting daily care team huddles. Take a look at the full list of six steps in detail.

Communication strategies can also play a big role in how patients progress to recovery, especially during patient handoffs. Not only is patient progression positively impacted by effective communication, but measures such as LOS, throughput, and quality of care can improve as well.

Physicians also play a major role in patient progression. When physicians are misaligned with your organization’s goals, it can be difficult to meet patients’ length of stay targets. You can follow our checklist here to find out if physician alignment is impacting your hospital’s patient progression.

When your hospital is efficiently progressing patients through care, they are safer and happier.

Expected Results from Patient Progression Optimization

Your hospital can experience impressive results from optimizing patient progression
  • Reduced length of stay

  • Increased case mix index

  • Reduced readmissions

  • Improved quality of care

  • Improved patient experience

  • Added capacity to support increased admissions

Care Logistics Has the Solution

If your organization is struggling to streamline patient progression, Care Logistics is here to help. As the industry leader in patient progression and throughput, no one is better suited than we are to take care of your patient progression challenges. But don’t take our word for it. Our customers tell the story best. View our customers’ stories about how their patient progression issues have been solved with the help of Care Logistics.


Want to hear more? Other video testimonials can be found here.

Interested in learning more about Care Logistics’ solutions? We offer a variety of different solutions designed to empower your staff to eliminate patient progression barriers, including process transformation, purpose-built software, and an innovative industry-leading hub-and-spoke model which includes an operational command center. Take a look at our throughput and progression solutions for more information about all of our different offerings, or contact us so we can help you determine which solution is right for your organization.

 Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How does Patient Progression relate to Patient Flow?

    Patient Flow refers to the broader movement of all your patients throughout your entire facility, while Patient Progression relates to actively moving each individual patient through care to a timely and appropriate discharge. While they are separate concepts, having proper Patient Progression is vital to ensuring smooth Patient Flow. Learn more about the relationship between flow and progression here.

  2. Can I fix Patient Progression challenges myself?

    Optimizing Patient Progression requires a significant amount of time, resources, and expertise. See if you are ready for the challenge with this patient progression checklist.

  3. How do I measure success in Patient Progression?

    While there are a variety of measures that can be used, we recommend starting with the CMI-adjusted combined LOS ratio.

  4. Can my EHR help me with this?

    EHRs are great tools for hospitals, but they are not built to help with Patient Progression. More information about using your EMR at the next level can be found here.

  5. How can Patient Progression help with my Hospital at Home efforts?

    By implementing processes and roles to efficiently identify, prepare, and progress your patients, a solid Patient Progression strategy can create consistency in the progression of your Hospital at Home patients. Your Patient Progression strategy drives workflows and accountability to ensure consistent, quality care regardless of whether the patient is in the hospital or at home.


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