Key Strategies to Preventing Readmissions
Hospital readmission can be costly in more ways than one, readmissions can have more than just a financial impact on healthcare organizations. Preventable readmissions can also impact:
- Patient Satisfaction
- A facility’s reputation
- The overall health and wellness of individuals and their communities
Fortunately, there are several strategies that can help prevent readmissions and improve the transition of care.
1. Make sure the transition is smooth and efficient
A study by Baylor Medical Center of Garland, TX found that efficient, nurse-led transitional programs decreased 30-day readmission rates by 48 percent. This study emphasized the need for transitional care to be fluid between providers in order to help minimize the risk of readmission.
One important step in making the transition smooth is to ensure all discharge summaries and information are promptly provided to the outpatient care providers. This helps make sure everyone – primary care providers, hospital physicians and the patient – are on the same page and working toward the same goal: continued health and wellness. While this can be an immense task, it’s a key factor in preventing readmissions.
2. Never underestimate the power of patient communication
When transitions in care happen, effective communication is key.
During the discharge process, provide clear instructions to patients and caregivers. Let them know where they can find details about their care once they leave. This could include a folder with printed materials, a website, a nurse information line or regular follow-up calls with the patient at home.
Clear and accurate post-discharge instructions and communication is a way to ensure patients are engaged with your organization and understand their care. A discharge experience that includes ongoing communication can help ease a patient’s worries and allow them to focus on recovering.
When patients and their caregivers understand what to expect at home and how to best take care of themselves or a loved one, they are more confident and more likely to follow their doctor’s instructions – leading to better outcomes and fewer readmissions.
3. Facilitate timely follow-up care and appointments
A patient’s experience with your facility doesn’t end at discharge, it continues after they leave. Reach out to patients after discharge to assess their experience and needs. Offer to review their discharge instructions and answer any questions they may have. This interaction provides a critical opportunity to coordinate follow-up care to support the recover process. Adequate follow-up care can catch issues and conditions before they lead to problems and, ultimately readmissions.
4. Promote patient engagement
Active engagement with patients, whether that’s through face-to-face follow-ups, phone calls or digital channels, can help identify potential issues before they become larger, more serious problems.
Patients feel more valued when a provider is actively engaged with them and concerned about their wellbeing. It gives them the opportunity to connect with providers and systems to ask questions and bring up concerns. This benefits providers as well, physicians will better understand their patients’ perspectives and have more up-to-date information about their current state of health.
Looking for a new approach to transitions of care?
As a healthcare organization, preventing readmissions is a vital aspect to building trusting relationships with patients and the community. However, this can be an overwhelming task without the right partner and tools. At Envera Health, we help provide post discharge follow-up communications that complement your expertise and support the recovery process.
Learn more about how a better discharge experience can help prevent readmissions, improve the health of the community and build trust among patients. Join our webinar, “Redesigning Transitions of Care: How Bon Secours Mercy Health is Creating a New Discharge Experience” on Thursday, October 18 to discover how you can improve the patient discharge experience.