With the release of the latest round of readmissions penalties, much is being written about ways to address this issue in the business of healthcare. After all, current estimates suggest that readmissions negatively impact hospitals annually by approximately $563 million in penalties. Recent studies reveal that the average cost of each readmission is around $15,000 per patient. That is a hard cost that most health systems have to absorb.
So … half a BILLION dollars is a big number, and represents a very big challenge. Which way do health systems look to address the problem? And what do hospitals do FIRST? We suggest hospitals look forward, look backward, then look forward again.
Here are the top three steps in priority order:
Look forward. Talk to patients.
Simple concept, yet often overlooked. Communicate with patients before, during and after discharge to ensure they understand their specific circumstances and are comfortable with their prescribed therapies when leaving the hospital. Reach out to patients in a timely manner after discharge to check on their progress and also identify any potential issues to alert care providers.
Look backward. Review patient populations.
Each patient has unique circumstances, and some groups predictably will be at higher risk for potential readmissions. Focus on those high-risk patient groups, and ensure that the healthcare team has the most current training on signals that can lead to readmissions.
Look forward again. Improve patient communications.
With an understanding of patient populations, and experience from talking to patients, hospitals should focus on improving their process … before, during and after discharge. Studies have shown that a large portion of readmissions could have been avoided with more informed and more timely communications between care providers and patients.
There is no magic formula for helping every patient avoid being readmitted after a hospital visit. However, hospitals can “look” forward, backward and forward again to address the challenge of readmissions penalties. And PREMEDEX can help. We talk to hundreds of patients every day. Our trained professionals and robust technology help hospital clients across the United States improve communications between care providers and patients. With timely live callbacks, we can help you talk to patients quicker and more effectively.
Learn how PREMEDEX can help you know which way to look to address readmissions. Click here to learn more.