Hospital readmissions leave significant negative impacts on health systems, both financially and clinically. As the patient heals outside the hospital room, timely and consistent patient outreach is essential. Although all means of communication efforts must be exhausted, there are now other ways to better facilitate patient care from home, all with the use of automated technology.
In this article, we will share with you four tips on how automated technology can help health institutions and health providers alike in reducing the number of hospital readmissions.
Ensure smooth transitional care and management
Hospital readmissions often happen due to communication breakdowns, where various cases of ineffective care transitions result in a less ideal post-acute or homecare setting. The best way to avoid this is to carefully identify the primary person responsible for coordinating patient care after discharge. Due to the overwhelming workloads health providers face in hospitals, however, this can easily be overlooked.
For better transitional care, opt for automated technology instead. These allow patients to manage their medications and schedule follow-up appointments through text messages. There are also self-monitoring devices that sync medical records, which can be accessible to patients recovering at home. Having a single point of contact enables both the patient and the healthcare team to monitor current health conditions so that they can catch any worsening condition before it’s too late.
Identify patient populations most at risk
The use of advanced software and technology can greatly assist hospitals in detecting at-risk patients early on, which allows healthcare workers to shift the focus on those who need proactive care. By using data analysis and risk stratification, such technologies will identify which patients are likely to be readmitted. Automated devices can also go through your entire health system’s medical records so that they can identify which newly discharged patients need extra care.
Identify and address the root cause of hospital readmissions
To fully understand why hospital readmissions happen, take a look into the root causes that contribute to such circumstances. As you dig deeper, determine whether or not there are any social determinants of health that affect patient risk for readmission. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the social determinants of health commonly pertain to the conditions of work, home, and even certain activities. Such factors come into play outside of hospital care, all of which play a critical role in a patient’s health and wellness, regardless of gender, age, and race. In fact, research shows that 55 percent of health outcomes are greatly affected by elements outside of doctor control.
Some of these elements include the following:
- Socioeconomic status
- Physical environments
- Social support networks
To address this issue effectively, you can opt to screen your patients that determine any present challenges, such as food insecurity, housing problems, and even transportation barriers. Knowing these details will help you provide services more efficiently and proactively, allowing you to provide specific treatments that may help keep them healthy long after their discharge.
Remember to reinforce discharge care instructions
Other than using automated devices and advanced patient population assessments, it is best to exhaust all means in providing discharge care instructions to patients and their caregivers. In doing so, you effectively smoothen the care transition from the hospital to the home.
Readmission commonly happens due to inadequate communication, regardless if it’s a result of a misunderstanding of a medical condition or the relay of insufficient information. However, educating patients about their follow-up care remains to be a crucial and foolproof way of reducing hospital readmissions.
Hospital readmissions are costly, not only financially, but also to the overall wellbeing of every party involved. To efficiently reduce the statistics of readmissions, hospitals and healthcare providers need to leverage automated technology and devices to better communicate and engage with their patients. This is why effective communication remains to be the number one solution to the reduction of hospital readmissions and any untimely worsening of conditions. As such, building better connections with patients must be prioritized.
If you’re looking to learn more about remote patient monitoring, get in touch with us today to see how we can help! We’re here to simplify your patient’s experience, so get them connected with a dedicated care manager as we take charge of remote patient monitoring.