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The Path to Reduce Readmissions

Hospitals are wrestling with readmission rates, some as high as 25-30%. They’re eager to help patients avoid returning soon after being discharged.

There is also a financial impact. Some estimate Medicare annual readmission costs as high as $17 billion. As Medicare cuts payments for readmissions, hospitals have financial incentives to reduce readmissions.

Strategies to help prevent hospital readmission

How many readmissions are avoidable? No one knows for sure. But improving the discharge process could help.

There are various approaches to solve this problem, according to Steve Blau, senior director of case management and patient logistics at Medstar Good Samaritan Hospital in Maryland. The top two strategies are improving case management and better care transitions management.

In a recent webinar, Blau outlines the components of successful readmission reduction program. He examines specific approaches hospitals are taking – such as focusing on outpatient medicine, emphasizing transitions of care, analyzing risk of inpatients and improving follow-up after discharge.

Standardized data improves results

Blau recounts his experience at Medstar Good Samaritan Hospital and its Post Acute Care Coordination (PACC) efforts. For care coordination team members, having data at their fingertips is critical to the program’s success. He credits Allscripts Care ManagementTM solutions with helping improve quality of care through standardized patient information.

An overview of the Allscripts Care DirectorTM solution is also part of the webinar. It’s a new, stand-alone solution that can help any type of organization prevent readmissions. Allscripts Care Management products can help automate the discharge planning process, send patients to the right place, provide analytics to measure outcomes, and stay clear of avoidable readmissions with continuous community case management.

“We’re at a time like no other,” said Blau. “The future of healthcare is pointed to care coordination.”

You can listen to a replay of the webinar here.

Do you have ideas for reducing readmissions? Leave your comments below.

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About the author

Arian Bichsel has focused on care management and referral management surrounding acute to post acute transitions for more than 10 years. She has expanded her focus to now include patient-centered coordination of care across all venues of care. She currently leads Allscripts Care Management as the Solutions Director. Previously Arian implemented care management solutions as part of Allscripts professional services team, led implementations, led overall Account Management across the client base and led overall Client Support operations.

2 COMMENTS on The Path to Reduce Readmissions

Kent Williams says:

01/15/2013 at 8:34 am

Ensure that the discharge includes a firm appointment with their followup physician. DO not rely on the patient to make the appointment. Also tie a followup call from the physician’s office to remind the patient they have an appointment (automate this if possible)

Holly Mathis says:

02/19/2013 at 8:29 am

Education & adequate discharge instructions are the key to preventing many unnecessary readmissions. Instructions are thrown at the patient with little or no care or concern as to whether they understood what they have been told. F/U appts aren’t made & the patients really don’t even know who they have seen & why they saw them. Numerous staff are in & out the patients room. The pt doesn’t know the attendings from the resident’s, they don’t know who is a nurse or a cleaning lady. They don’t know the student nurse from the charge nurse. No one introduces themselves anymore & everybody wears scrubs. There is no distinction of the staff. Discharge instructions frequently contain medical abbreviations (which pts have no clue as to what they mean), are incomplete, & are altogether inadequate. If the pts had better education, be it in paper form, verbally, or via a portal they could better participate in their care & their outcome. Hence this would decrease their frequent return trips to the ER & ultimate readmission.

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