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Hospitals need to work smarter in the effort to get patients up and out

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)Sinai Hospital in Baltimore

I followed with interest Andrea K. Walker's article concerning Sinai Hospital's incentive discharge program ("Sinai's incentive discharge program raises questions," Aug. 30).

However, I was dismayed by Maryland Nurses Association President Neysa Ernst's comment that hospitals need to do a better job of explaining the discharge process to patients so they understand why it may seem to take longer than it should if they don't realize nurses are waiting on such things as blood test results.

During my more than 35-year career as a nurse, I always felt it was my responsibility to facilitate the discharge process for the patient in collaboration with other professional team members while educating the patient every step of the way.

If there are system issues, such as the hospital's not writing orders in a timely fashion, or the lab not getting results quickly enough, then what is management's responsibility for creating a better work flow?

Now more than ever, we all need to be working together and smarter, not finger-pointing and blaming. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, electronic medical records, and the push for more integration, I thought we would be further along than this.

I recommend making this issue a priority in the hospital's overall quality plan and bringing all the players to the table to talk and work on it together.

Forget the gift cards. The best gift is for the hospital team to be able to take pride in a shared vision of getting every patient to a higher level of wellness than when they arrived, and then discharging them back to their homes in a timely manner.

Patricia Bayly Miedusiewski, Monkton

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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