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How Hospitals Can Harness Data to Reduce Hospital Readmissions


Hospitals are challenged  to avoid the readmission penalties that come with the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program, which penalizes hospitals with high rates of readmissions for conditions like pneumonia, heart failure, and myocardial infarction. Since hospitals are compared to their peers, as readmission rates drop, hospitals have to continually find ways to do better.

One  answer to reducing hospital readmissions lies in the use of actionable data. Most health systems already have a large amount of data on patients for billing and other purposes, and that data can be used to identify risk in patients. Harnessing that data and using analytics to understand the “why” of readmissions and to predict what will happen next can prove invaluable.

With today’s sophisticated analytics, it’s possible to comb through huge amounts of clinical data to find ways to improve efficiency and quality. Analytics offers hospitals the ability to better manage certain patient populations, working to improve readmission rates. According to Managed Healthcare Executive, taking steps now to harness and use data is critical to helping facilities manage risk, improve patient care, and reduce costs. How can data help your hospital reduce readmissions?


Start Understanding More About Current Readmission Rates

It may go without saying that, If you’re not already looking at your current readmission rates, you won’t be able to improve upon what you’re not measuring. Data can help you establish readmission baselines, help you track your performance and inform everyone on the team of goals and progress toward lowering the rate of hospital readmissions. It’s the very first step towards lowering readmission rates.


Identify High Risk Patients

All that data can also be leveraged to help your hospital identify patients who have the highest risk of being readmitted after their initial hospital stay. Analytics can help make predictions about patient risk, and hospital administrators can use special care plans to meet the needs of high-risk patients, to reduce readmissions.

In many cases, patients who fit certain socioeconomic profiles present a higher risk of readmission. Data can help you recognize these patients and take extra measures to prevent readmissions.


Why are Patients High Risk?

It’s not enough to simply identify your high risk patients if you want to reduce hospital readmissions. You also have to figure out why they are high risk. Some patients may have transportation issues, making them a high risk. Others may have medication vulnerabilities. Certain patients may not have a caregiver at home to help them with post-discharge care.

When you identify why patients are high risk, then you can match them with the correct intervention and the right type of patient engagement to reduce the chance that they’re readmitted within the next 30 days.


How PatientBond Can Help

With the help of PatientBond, hospitals can take the data they have and the insights they gain to start providing the appropriate intervention to patients to lower the risk of readmission. PatientBond is a cloud-based platform that takes patient engagement to the next level by automating communications like interactive voice response, emails, and text messages.

Not only are communications automated, they are also customized to the channel preferences and motivations of each patient to ensure patients receive relevant communications. Every communication sent out by PatientBond uses a proprietary psychographic segmentation model, developed by healthcare consumer experts from P&G, to ensure messages resonate with the personality, motivations, and core beliefs of each patient.  This enables a precision engagement approach tailored to the needs, preferences and motivations of each patient.

The PatientBond technology platform can be used for multiple interventions, including:

  • Post-Discharge Automated Calls: Within a specified time-frame after discharge, facilities can use PatientBond to make automated phone calls to check on patients, reinforce discharge instructions, and to find out if patients need additional attention from a medical professional.
  • Post-Discharge Appointments: Following up with a physician within seven days of discharge has proven to lower hospital readmissions, and PatientBond can be used to send out digital  appointment reminders to ensure patients get to those appointments.
  • Medication Adherence: Non-adherence is a huge problem that is not only costly, but also increases the risk of readmission. PatientBond can send out automated, digital refill reminders to ensure patients are reminded to pick up prescriptions. The platform can also provide educational content to patient, offering information on the medications they’re taking.

More and more hospitals are making improvements and using data to lower hospital readmissions, so healthcare facilities must continue to make improvements to avoid costly readmission penalties. By harnessing and leveraging data — both clinical and consumer psychology data — to determine appropriate interventions, hospitals can develop best practices that not only reduce readmissions and penalties, but improve patient satisfaction and outcomes.


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