By: Naik, Yogesh H, TeleVox Information Security Manager TeleVox’s industry-leading, omnichannel patient relationship management platform…
As we approach the end of 2023, healthcare providers continue to face an array of challenges that have a negative impact on patient outcomes and ROI. One of those hurdles being dealt with is the stubbornly high readmission rates that can lead to penalties for the health provider and increased costs for the patient. Thankfully, digital care programs from TeleVox are here to help remedy many of the contributing factors that lead to readmissions.
In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 20161, it was revealed that approximately 26.9% of hospital readmissions had the potential to be prevented. The study identified several factors strongly linked to preventability, many of which can be effectively addressed by digital care programs. These factors include:
- Failure to communicate critical information to outpatient healthcare professionals.
- Insufficient discussions about care objectives, particularly among patients with severe illnesses.
- Challenges related to keeping appointments after discharge.
- Patients’ lack of awareness regarding whom to contact post-discharge.
Digital care programs offer a versatile solution for managing the well-being of a diverse range of patients, spanning from those undergoing surgical procedures to individuals living with chronic conditions.
These programs streamline the management of chronic diseases, support both pre- and post-operative care, and empower healthcare teams to prioritize the delivery of high-value patient care. Moreover, they have the potential to substantially reduce hospital readmissions, thereby curbing substantial financial burdens.
Additionally, unplanned readmissions carry an average cost of $15,000 per patient2. Beyond the financial implications, Medicare has taken action to address readmission rates, imposing penalties on 82% of the 3,046 evaluated hospitals in the year ending September 20223. Although the number of penalized hospitals is expected to decrease in the year ending September 2023, it will still impact 75% of the hospitals evaluated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Digital care is key to reducing hospital readmissions.
Digital engagement emerges as a pivotal strategy in the battle against readmissions. A recent article by McKinsey & Company4 outlines various solutions aimed at reducing readmission rates. Their model emphasizes the importance of scheduling follow-up appointments for discharged hospital patients within one week and how leveraging digital support can increase overall outcomes.
McKinsey identifies three key areas where digital technology can play a transformative role:
- Engaging patients proactively and digitally.
- Establishing a real-time decision support infrastructure.
- Enabling the final leg of care delivery and fostering digital patient engagement.
A state-of-the-art digital care plan.
Digital care programs can be seamlessly integrated into patient care starting before a hospital visit. Integrated with the hospital’s Electronic Health Records (EHR) system, patients receive pre-procedure instructions and continuous support throughout their care journey, including post-operative care. Digital care platforms can offer valuable post-procedure information and education on prescribed medications and their proper usage.
Automated digital care programs not only ensure that crucial milestones are met but also alleviate healthcare providers from time-consuming administrative tasks, allowing them to focus on delivering exceptional patient care. The implementation of such digital care initiatives holds significant promise in reducing future hospital readmissions. At TeleVox, we have achieved remarkable success in leveraging our patient engagement platform to deploy digital care programs that effectively minimize readmissions.
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1) Auerbach AD, Kripalani S, Vasilevskis EE, et al. Preventability and Causes of Readmissions in a National Cohort of General Medicine Patients. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(4):484–493. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7863
4) McKinsey& Company, Healthcare, “How payers could unlock value by improving transitions of care,” July 10, 2023