Top 5 Strategies for Reducing Hospital Readmissions

Patients, providers, and payers all suffer when there are readmissions to the hospital. Approximately 14% of patients are readmitted to the hospital each year. According to the AHRQ, patients spend an average of $15,200 for each readmission.

Keeping patients out of the hospital longer and better is a crucial goal for healthcare organizations to move to a value-based care model. Minimizing readmissions is one way to improve other essential metrics, such as patient outcomes and quality of care.

The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) has forced healthcare providers to reconsider their policies and undertake organization-wide measures to reduce hospital readmissions and avoid payment cutbacks. This is how remote patient monitoring (RPM) and telehealth systems might assist reduce readmissions. The following are some of the best strategies for reducing hospital readmissions in the current healthcare system:

1. Identify and monitor high-risk patients

Hospitals can use a telehealth and RPM program to identify individuals at high risk of readmissions and enroll them. The understanding of a patient determines the telehealth program’s tiers. These patients may benefit from a virtual care model that incorporates an electronic communication device (such as an iPad) and Bluetooth accessories to monitor their health data continuously.

2. Recognize the prevailing policy

Under the ACA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) must begin lowering reimbursement payments for hospitals that have 30-day readmission rates that are higher than the national average.

Reimbursement and penalties are calculated using a “readmission ratio.” Each medical issue has its ratio, which compares the hospital’s results to the national average. In the beginning, the program included treatment for AMI, HF, and pneumonia, which are all forms of heart failure (PN). New diagnoses in 2015 included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), elective total hip arthroplasty (THA), and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

3. Follow up with patients after discharge

Hospital doctors and care teams should use ADT data to develop a procedure for follow-up as part of their intervention and outreach efforts to prevent patients from being readmitted. Many physicians and nurses are already overworked and do not have time for follow-ups with patients after they leave the hospital, so it may be challenging to figure out who should do this. Following up with patients after leaving the hospital has been shown to minimize readmissions effectively.

Patients who got a call within 30 days after being discharged from the hospital were shown to have a lower readmission rate than those who did not. A 7-Day Pledge Program in Camden, New Jersey, connects patients with appointments to visit their primary care physician (PCP) within seven days of release from the hospital. Patients who saw their PCP in the first week, post-discharge, had decreased readmission rates.

4. Improve Transitional Care

In addition, high-quality transitional care reduces hospital readmissions considerably. It is possible to get transitional care in rehabilitative or therapeutic treatment, nutritional counseling, and fall prevention. Complex or long-term patients will benefit the most from these treatments.

A study published in the BMC Health Services Research journal of patients discharged from the hospital and then given a referral to an exercise program, a nurse visit, and a telephone follow-up showed the importance of transitional care. They were 3.6 times less likely than those who did not receive these transitional care services to experience unplanned readmission 28 days later.

5. Maximize the use of technology

Hundreds of thousands of people navigate the healthcare system every day. Complex exchanges can happen when patients progress from admission to inpatient medical, surgical, or specialist units and are subsequently discharged.

Additionally, the hospital’s command center must maintain track of the patient’s position and the materials and equipment necessary to treat the patient’s condition. Hospitals can improve patient safety via the use of a variety of technological solutions, including Computer Provider Order Entry (CPOE), Decision Support (DS), Bar Code Medication Administration (BRAM), DS, and Robotic Pharmacies (RP).

Using these techniques, healthcare facilities can reduce unplanned readmissions. While each approach addresses a particular problem that affects patient outcomes, it should be executed as part of a more significant transition of a care plan that addresses the patient’s whole hospital and post-discharge journey.

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