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Tweet Smears Hospital's Discharge Incentive Campaign

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 29, 2013

When I saw @Nurse_Rachel_'s tweet, I wondered: What was Sinai Hospital thinking?

So I called Betsy Haley, Sinai's communications and social media manager, who says this was the first she'd heard about such a contest. After she checked, she was adamant that the implications in the tweets from @Nurse_Rachel_ were false.

The campaign is real, and that was a real photograph of the notice in the nurse manager's binder. But nurses are being incentivized to discharge patients from the hospital only after the physician's discharge order is signed, she says.

She read me the hospital's statement:

"What you have seen on this Twitter account is part of an internal campaign to improve patient satisfaction. Our patients have told us that the wait times between the physician's discharge orders to the actual discharge time has historically been too long. Once the patient knows he or she is being discharged, they naturally want to go home as soon as possible.

"Sinai is piloting a program to encourage its nursing staff to complete the discharge as soon as possible to better meet expectations."

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6 comments on "Tweet Smears Hospital's Discharge Incentive Campaign"


LL (8/30/2013 at 12:38 AM)
I think the real issue is the fact that the nurse tweeted about it. Nothing wrong with the program and I'm sure there was no ill-will. But, from a PR perspective, sending the tweet was a fail. You never want to put your employer in a reactionary & defensive position. Especially when the intent was meant to improve, not harm. I'm not sure I understand why some people continue to tweet exactly what they are thinking. And you definitely don't want to do that when it relates to your job.

Christine Pittman (8/29/2013 at 7:26 PM)
I don't agree with an employee of any institution voicing a concern over Twitter, especially in a manner that leaves out the facts. Having said that, we should consider the crucial information that is exchanged during the discharge process. The nurse, pharmacy and case management staff must interpret and respond to the provider's discharge orders. Those roles are responsible for giving the patient and family their best opportunity to succeed in the post hospitalization period. Just as the spokesperson said, Nursing staff has a lot to do to finalize paperwork, communicate discharge instructions to the patients and family, arrange for transportation, find the patients' belongings, and continue to care for other patients." In addition, there may be prescritions that just showed up to be filled, follow up appointments to be made, discrepancies to be resolved, etc. This is not McDonalds. We have to do the right thing and make certain the patient is set up for positive outcomes.

Nursenat67 (8/29/2013 at 3:07 PM)
Sadly, there are some nurses who "lolly gag" because they don't want to get the time consuming admission. All discharges must have a Physician's order and that is up to his or her medical judgement.