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Reduce Hospital Readmissions Using Interactive Systems

Acute Care April 10, 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released data last fall that shows good news for hospitals working to reduce patient readmissions. From 2010-2015, 30-day hospital readmission rates fell by 8 percent nationally – with reductions noted in every state but one.

Their data shows that since 2010:

  • All states but one have seen Medicare 30-day readmission rates fall.
  • In 43 states, readmission rates fell by more than 5 percent.
  • In 11 states, readmission rates fell by more than 10 percent.

That’s good news for both patients and hospitals. Potentially avoidable hospital readmissions that occur within 30 days of a patient’s initial discharge are estimated to account for more than $17 billion in Medicare expenditures annually. Hospitals that experience high readmission rates get financially penalized by CMS, and patients that experience an avoidable readmission are subject to longer recovery times and additional medical costs.

The good news is that many readmissions can be avoided by making sure that patients leave the hospital with:

  • appropriate medications and a clear understanding of how and when to take them;
  • clear, well-communicated instructions for their recovery plan once they leave the hospital; and
  • follow-up appointments scheduled to ensure their recovery stays on track.

Those may sound like simple steps, but a key challenge is incorporating them into established workflows and clinical processes that are user friendly to both nurses and patients. One way that hospitals are meeting this requirement is through use of interactive patient systems, such as Sentrics’ E3 Patient Engagement Solutions™.

Innovative solutions through interactivity

Using E3’s suite of tools has helped hospitals across the country improve their communication between patients and staff, and equip their patients to remain healthy after being discharged, minimizing their likelihood of being readmitted. Let’s look at some examples of how Sentrics’ system helps.

Using the Sentrics solution, nurses can select health education videos specific to a patient’s diagnosis and care protocol. And, without logging in to any disparate systems, and even at the patient bedside, they can assign these videos to the patient and send them a notification to watch them. Nurses also can monitor the patient’s compliance, through integration with the electronic health record and via the video-education checklist feature, and follow up during rounding to answer questions, or simply remind or encourage their patients to view their assigned videos.

In addition, through Sentrics’ vast network of content partners, nurses and patients have access to a robust library of health resources, including medication information. These materials can be viewed by the patient on their in-room television, bedside touchscreen unit or even a tablet. Sentrics’ system even allows patients to email their assigned materials to family or caregivers, to help improve their understanding of the post-discharge care.

By the metrics – see how Sentrics’ client hospitals have improved

Patient communication

Since using Sentrics’ interactive system, Phelps Memorial Hospital has achieved a 22% improvement in how patients rate nurse communication, and a 33% improvement in how patients rate the hospital’s medication communication. Meanwhile, Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital is reporting a 91% positive rating for nurse communication.

Phelps Communication Outcomes91% Positive Rating Nurse Communication

 

Discharge instructions

Mercy Hospital’s patient rating for discharge communications exceeded the national average by nearly 5% in just the first year since deploying the Sentrics system.

Helping patients fully understand their health condition, treatment, medications, and post-discharge instructions is key to reducing readmissions and speeding recovery. Meanwhile, hospitals continually are looking for creative ways to more fully educate patients and empower them in their health care.

Interactive solutions are a proven way that many hospitals are improving population health, keeping people out of the hospital, and for those who are admitted, ensuring that their experience is as positive as it possibly can be.

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