May 2024

Using the WVHIN Portal to Reduce Your Patients' LOS

By Holly Mount, RN, MSN, Director of Client Management & Application Development

Last year, average hospital stays dropped 4.1% nationally—promising news, given that length of stay (LOS) surged 19% in 2022. But in West Virginia, LOS is substantially higher than the national average. The West Virginia Hospital Association reported an average LOS of 5.94 days for hospitals across the state, surpassing the nationwide average of 4.5 days.

It’s a call to action for better care coordination and management, something our WVHIN Portal is well-poised to support.

Certainly, a number of factors influence the amount of time our patients spend in the hospital, including operational issues that delay discharges. But one of the biggest barriers to reducing LOS—breakdowns in communication across care settings—can be mitigated when clinicians commit to using the WVHIN Portal to access the most up-to-date patient information available.

Better Care Starts with Better Data

The WVHIN Portal provides clinicians and care teams with powerful access and insight to vital patient information, right when it’s needed most.

With comprehensive connections across the entire state of West Virginia and surrounding regions, providers can rest assured that WVHIN has the information they need to determine which care interventions are needed, coordinate care, inform discharge planning and more. Among high-risk patients in particular, a JAMA study points to eight interventions that can help reduce LOS, including tightening processes for inter- or multidisciplinary care, case management, medication management and discharge planning—all of which can be supported by routinely accessing our health information exchange (HIE).

Just one look in the WVHIN Portal gives providers access to patient information from 53 out of 55 of West Virginia’s hospitals—critical in instances where patients frequently seek care from more than one hospital—as well as 90% of the state’s federally qualified health centers, nearly all ambulatory care providers and urgent care clinics, and a variety of other providers. It saves care teams time when minutes count and provides a vital view into a patient's medical history and needs.

Here are three ways clinicians benefit from access to the WVHIN:

Expedite care decision-making processes.

With the WVHIN, clinicians gain near-real-time notifications that alert them when patients visit an emergency department or are admitted to the hospital. This helps providers respond faster and more effectively to patients most in need of care management.

Facilitate seamless care transitions.

The WVHIN empowers providers to make the connections needed to strengthen the health of vulnerable populations, including during transitions in care. “We use the WVHIN every day for transitions of care,” says one hospital manager of population health. “We’ve found it to be exceptionally useful to get much-needed patient information that we had no way to access before.”

Tailor treatment plans to individual patients’ needs.

Lengthy hospitalizations aren’t the fault of any single process or circumstance. Often, they’re the result of a combination of clinical and non-clinical factors, like not having the right information at the right time. With access to data from providers statewide and from national and regional networks, including HIEs in neighboring Ohio and Kentucky, clinicians can be sure they have the most complete information available to make care decisions.

Now is the time for West Virginian clinicians to leverage the WVHIN to optimize care for patients and reduce the impact of LOS on care teams, resources and costs.

Holly Mount, RN, MSN, is Director of Client Management & Application Development for the West Virginia Health Information Network (WVHIN).

Want to learn more about how the WVHIN Portal can support you?

Email Holly for a tutorial today.

WVHIN Portal