Reducing Hospital Readmission Rates through Discharge Interventions
As the pandemic continues, many providers are overwhelmed by the demands of COVID-19. Providers not only have COVID-19 patients to whom they must attend to, but also the normal influx of patients and a growing list of people who have delayed procedures, necessary or not.
In normal times, reducing readmissions is important, but today, it’s essential in order to protect the hospital’s capacity, keep up with demand and avoid penalties. These issues can easily build up quickly, but there are solid ways to prevent and reduce readmissions when discharge interventions are put into place.
Create a Care Plan
Recovery from a health condition and hospital stay can obviously be challenging for patients. Depending on the condition, there could be a multitude of restrictions or proactive health behaviors, some of which are extremely necessary in order to avoid returning to the hospital.
Providers should lay out everything for patients on their recovery process including realistic expectations, restrictions, follow-up appointments (we’ll get into that in a minute) and for lifelong conditions, managing their care regularly. However, delivering all of this information at once to a patient, especially during the stress of a hospital stay, almost guarantees much of that information will be forgotten. It is much better to parcel such information in manageable chunks in a sequence to ensure patients digest and internalize the information.
Delivering a series of digital communications covering these topics and other patient education, written in a format consistent with each patient’s psychographic profile, has demonstrated significant success in reducing the rate of hospital readmissions. Even for a serious condition like congestive heart failure, digital patient engagement has been shown to be highly effective.
Schedule a Follow-up Appointment
Things can happen, good and bad. The best way to avoid any issues following a discharge is by preparing for any possible scenario. That includes scheduling a follow-up appointment to see how the patient is doing. That way, providers can spot issues quickly and resolve them before they spiral into something more serious, resulting in a trip back to the hospital.
Today, technology allows providers to continue the patient engagement journey while patients are recovering at home. Home care can easily be integrated within a care plan, whether it’s having nurses check on patients at home or incorporating remote monitoring or home diagnostics. In light of coronavirus, patients are more inclined to stay at home for their care and avoid the hospital, making it easier to integrate this approach.
Providers can easily access patient data (e.g., utilization data, demographics, socioeconomics, etc.), but there are healthcare consumer insights that can be used to motivate patients to follow through on the previous interventions mentioned. The PatientBond Insights Accelerator™ pulls a multitude of patient insights, including psychographics, that can be used to engage with patients in a way that encourages them to manage their health effectively.
Thanks in large part to COVID-19, healthcare is finally embracing digital patient engagement and resources like digital health platforms are critical to integrating these data. Healthcare consumers can access all their care from a smart device, messaging their doctors, paying their bills, requesting prescription refills, scheduling appointments and more.
Telehealth is an option patients appreciate having when they need it along with remote monitoring. These alternatives help patients recover at home instead of returning to the hospital. When resources continue to be strained, it’s vital to come up with long-term solutions that not only help healthcare workers do their jobs but also can pick up some of the work burnt-out staff and labor shortages through automation. In addition, it improves the health outcomes for these patients and the provider’s ROI.
It’s never too late to improve the way your health system operates to reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions. Contact PatientBond today to learn more about how PatientBond can help you reduce hospital readmissions.