How Patient Education Can Help to Reduce Readmission

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Hospital readmission rates have long been used as a way to gauge the effectiveness and quality of care that patients receive. The lower the readmission rate, the higher the perceived quality of care, and vice versa. However, with the Affordable Care Act, which took effect in October of 2012, readmission rates have become one of the new federal aims for improving overall hospital care.

Not only are readmission rates used as primary indicators of how well a hospital is performing, but they are also costing healthcare facilities millions of dollars each year. The good news is that studies have shown that significantly reducing readmissions could be as simple and streamlined as introducing automated messaging technology to your current patient education protocols. Here’s how.

Significantly reducing readmissions could be as simple and streamlined as introducing automated messaging technology to your current patient education protocols.

Understanding Hospital Readmissions and Why They Happen

As far as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is concerned, the readmission period is a 30-day window that starts from the moment that a patient is discharged. If he or she is readmitted to any hospitbal, not just the one from which the patient was initially discharged, within 30 days, this counts as a readmission. Starting in 2012 when the Affordable Care Act kicked in, CMS began penalizing hospitals for rising readmission rates, upping the ante, so to speak, for healthcare systems to implement new policies that would work to lower readmissions, particularly for Medicare and Medicaid patients [1].

While some readmissions are unavoidable and happen due to unforeseen medical complications, many others could have been prevented with improved patient education during the discharge process. In fact, according to research published in Patient Experience Journal, providing easily accessible written post-surgical instructions and engaging the patient in his or her own care could potentially reduce the general readmission rate by up to 45% [2]. At an estimated cost of $11,200 per each all-cause readmission, a 45% reduction could easily equate to millions of dollars in savings in just one year.

Providing easily accessible written post-surgical instructions and engaging the patient in his or her own care could potentially reduce the general readmission rate by up to 45%.

Why Patient Education Matters

The current discharge process for many hospitals throughout the country is complicated, time-consuming, and largely inefficient. Patients are usually overwhelmed and hurried at discharge, so the information that they receive through verbal instructions or the stack of aftercare directions that they’re handed on their way out are largely ineffective. In fact, many of the greatest contributors to readmissions involve discharge procedures. These include premature discharge, inadequate post-discharge support, insufficient follow-up, and failed handoffs [3].

Thus, it stands to reason that by properly educating patients, both at discharge and once they get home, and providing them with the tools they need to better care for themselves or their loved one, hospitbals can work to significantly reduce the rate of readmissions within this 30-day window.

How Tine Health PRM Solutions Can Help

It is easy to see just how important patient education and engagement is when it comes to improving their overall care and reducing readmission rates to help hospitals also increase their bottom line. The question then becomes, “How can we better educate our patients?”

Based on the research put forth by Kemp et al. mentioned above, one of the most effective ways to decrease readmission rates and improve the patient experience simultaneously is to make sure patients are both properly educated and involved in their care and aftercare efforts [2]. Tine Health’s end-to-end patient engagement platform offers a unique solution. Through its automated messaging system, educational how-to videos, and specific follow-up prompts and questions, the Tine PRM platform encompasses each crucial aspect of improved patient education without requiring additional time or effort from physicians, nurses, and other staff members.

Through its automated messaging system, educational how-to videos, and specific follow-up prompts and questions, the Tine PRM platform offers a unique solution.

As a result, patients have all the discharge and aftercare information they need right at their fingertips, so they can easily reference items like medication schedules, wound care instructions, and other vital information needed to maximize recovery. Additionally, Tine PRM will automatically provide follow-up questions and prompt happy patients to write a great review of their experience and the quality of care that they received. These combined efforts to educate and engage patients from the moment they make an appointment until they’ve recovered and are ready to write a review come along with a wide range of benefits, including reduced readmissions.

In Summary

Automated communication and information that can be instantly accessed when and where you need it is the way of the future. If you’ve been searching for ways to integrate this technology into your hospital system for improved patient satisfaction, reduced readmission rates, and an increased bottom line, Tine’s PRM platform could be exactly what you’re looking for.

If you’d like more information about how this platform works or its many other benefits and applications, take a look at our FAQ page. Or, if you’d rather see Tine PRM in action, schedule a demo online today!

 

[1] Becker’s Hospital Review

[2] Patient Experience Journal

[3] Hospital Discharge and Readmission

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