Improve Patient Experience to Reduce Readmissions

Posted on February 4, 2013. Filed under: Communication, HCAHPS, Patient Experience, Post By Christy Whipple, Readmission |

Christy Whipple

According to a research study released by Press Ganey Associates, Inc., hospitals that perform better on patient experience measures also have lower patient readmission rates.

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Reducing Readmissions: A Top Priority

With Medicare payment penalties for readmissions now in effect, reducing readmissions has become a top priority for hospitals and other stakeholders. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) publicly reports risk-adjusted readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. A new study by Press Ganey suggests that performance on readmission metrics is associated with performance on patient experience.

HCAHPS Performance Related to Readmission Rates

Sources suggest that many hospitals struggle to identify and address the factors that influence readmissions. However, the Press Ganey study has revealed a strong connection between lower rates of excess readmissions for certain conditions and higher performance on Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) value-based purchasing metrics.

Start with a Focus on the Patient

Nell Buhlman, Press Ganey’s VP of Product Strategy states, “”Readmissions and HCAHPS are multifaceted… To effectively combat patient readmissions, hospitals can benefit from a foundational strategy that starts first and foremost with the patient – and efforts that are aimed at improving HCAHPS scores are an excellent initial step.”

When HCAHPS Increase, Readmissions Decrease

The Press Ganey study found that as hospital performance on HCAHPS increases, readmission penalties decrease: Very low HCAHPS performance (scores of 0-20) was associated with much-higher-than-average readmission penalties, and very high HCAHPS performance (80-100) was associated with much-lower-than-average readmission penalties.

Engage Patients in Their Care

According to a related article written by David Harlow JD MPH, effective communications “is fundamental to ensuring that patients become engaged in their care and, consequently, better equipped to follow discharge instructions and self-monitor after leaving the acute care setting.”

Communication Reduces Readmissions

Harlow also suggests that hospitals adopt a sustainable discharge strategy that identifies and addresses “patient-specific factors that could lead to readmission, strategic patient education, developing a patient-focused after-care plan and ensuring a smooth transition to a post-acute setting.” In summary, he states that “a patient-centered discharge planning process, built on clear communications with the patient, is likely to reduce readmissions.”



Are you ready to improve your patient perception 
experience and reduce your readmission rates with improved communication? Introcomm provides custom communications solutions beginning with the admissions and discharge processes. Find out how we can help you improve communication by improving systems you already have in place (meaning little to no additional out of pocket expense). 

Contact us today to schedule our complimentary educational webinar.

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