These days there are pressures on hospitals to reduce the readmissions and improve patient satisfaction. These two factors are important for hospital growth as they can be penalized for higher readmission rates and can be incentivized for higher patient satisfaction. Based on studies, approximately 15% of elderly patients are readmitted within 28 days of discharge. Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) is a Medicare value-based purchasing program that encourages hospitals to improve communication and care coordination to better engage patients and caregivers in discharge plans and, in turn, reduce readmissions.Patient satisfaction is measured by HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare. Providers and Systems) scores. HCAHPS is a hospital survey for measuring patient perception of hospital experience.Good patient satisfaction provides incentives for hospitals to improve the quality of care.
In order to reduce readmissions and increase patient satisfaction after discharge, patient’s post discharge engagement is important. Studies have shown that post-discharge follow-ups can significantly reduce readmission that happens within 30 days of the initial hospital stay.The advantages of post discharge follow-up include increase a patient’s perception of care. This makes patients feel supported and hence it can improve the hospital’s HCAHPS score. The other important benefit of post discharge follow-up is to reduce medication errors. All this can lead to reduced readmissions. Patients receiving timely calls are much less likely to be readmitted within 30 days of discharge.
Latest cutting-edge technologies including cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI) /Machine Learning (ML), and mobile enablement can play an important role in increasing patient’s post-discharge engagement. Following are some of the ways hospital can use technology in improving patient’s engagement and can help increasing patient satisfaction and reducing readmissions:
- Patient discharge instruction recording/access – One of the issues after patient’s discharge is that the patient is unable to recall discharge instructions. This can result in decreased quality of care due to missing instructions and hence can increase chance of readmissions. It can also result in low HCAHPS scores. In order to increase post discharge quality of care, hospitals can record the discharge instructions and store it in secure public or private cloud. The recording should be accessible to the patient and family members of patients. Based on studies, patient’s access to discharge instructions recording helps in improving HCAHPS and reducing readmissions. The other advantage is reduction in questions about discharge instructions. This can free up hospital resources and they can focus on other important areas of patient care.
|Potential Benefits||Improved HCAHPS|
|Free up hospital resources|
- Post Discharge Call – Post discharge call is to follow-up patients post discharge via phone call and check the patient’s status of health, address medication questions, address questions related to discharge instructions, and remind follow-up appointments. This can be made very effective by creating a dashboard that can help hospital’s staff calling patients with priority list and reminders. For example, patients with higher risks of readmissions can be placed at higher priority. It can help hospital staff with relevant patient’s details and make the whole post discharge follow-up process seamless. The main benefits are to reduce readmissions and increase patient satisfaction.
|Potential Benefits||Reduce Readmission|
|Increase Patient Satisfaction|
- AI & ML – Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can be leveraged by hospitals to improve their quality of care. For example, creating machine learning models based on factors like a patient’s gender, age, previous hospitalization, home conditions and evaluating data from EMRs can help in predicting readmission risks in patients. The knowledge generated from these models can be effectively operationalized. This information can be used by the care provider after a patient’s discharge to make timely interventions.This can help in reducing readmissions.
|Potential Benefits||Improve Quality of Care|
|Timely intervention to reduce readmissions|
- Mobile access to Patient data – Providing patient access to their data on mobile in a secured manner not only helps patients to be more engaged post discharge, it can also give them ability to share the data with their caregiver and different providers. The data can include post discharge medication, and treatment during hospital stay. It can enable providers to up to speed with what patient’s history before they provide medical care to the patient.
|Potential Benefits||Patient engagement|
|Share data with caregivers and other providers|
In nutshell, hospitals can leverage technology to effectively improve their patient engagement. This helps freeing up hospital resources, readily availability of patient’s data to caregivers, timely intervention to reduce readmissions, and improved patient satisfaction. As readmissions and patient satisfaction tied to penalties and incentives to hospitals, a good HCAHPS score, and reduced readmissions can help in overallgrowth of the hospital.