By: Chuck Hayes, Vice President of Product Management for TeleVox Solutions at West Corporation
Driving Better Patient Outcomes
High readmission rates have resulted in steep financial penalties for hospitals and intensified the need for health system providers to become more actively involved in post-discharge care. As the healthcare industry continues to embrace value-based payment models, hospitals are being held accountable for the long-term health of their patients, and they are facing pressure to keep patients engaged, in compliance with care plans, and out of the hospital. With Medicare penalties for hospitals surpassing $520 million this year alone, hospitals are looking to implement strategies that put a greater emphasis on two critical areas: follow-up communication and patient engagement.
Results from a recent West survey revealed that half of acute care professionals feel insufficient follow-up by hospital teams is a leading factor that contributes to readmissions. Another 32 percent of those surveyed suggested that a lack of communication on the part of providers also leads to readmissions. In order to reduce readmissions, hospital and health system providers need to work to keep communication lines open, while also providing meaningful interactions and intra-visit support to those patients that have left the hospital. And all of this must be done in a cost-effective manner.
The idea that providers need to offer more post-discharge support is a sentiment echoed by patients who want to see hospital teams expand long-term support efforts. Medicare’s HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) surveys show that patients often feel disconnected from their medical team after discharge. In fact, recent HCAHPS data reveals that half of surveyed patients reported feeling confused or uncertain about how to comply with care instructions after being discharged from the hospital.