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  1. Younger, Samuel J. PhD, MHA, MSN, AGPCNP-BC, FACHE


Hospitals are under increased pressure to address both financial and capacity constraints to improve their clinical operations. Effective capacity management programs have become a key driver of clinical operations for managing the flow of patients into and out of the hospital. Many high-functioning medical centers have developed capacity management programs to strategically address patient throughput. Discharging patients from the hospital is one fundamental, but complex, patient flow initiative for efficient patient throughput. Despite advances in optimizing patient flow, there is a lack of understanding associated with the structure and processes to efficiently discharge patients. This article outlines a discharge timeliness project where advanced practice providers are principal leaders of designing a safe and efficient patient discharge prototype. Design thinking was used to develop a patient discharge prototype that included 6 key areas that led to improved discharge times on a cardiac surgery step-down unit. High tech solutions were incorporated into the electronic medical record system to enhance communication across phases of care and inform the interdisciplinary team of patient progress.