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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A Letter to Dr. Santa

Posted on December 19, 2012. Filed under: Communication, HCAHPS, Introcomm Services, Patient Experience, Post By Christy Whipple, Readmission |

  Dear Dr. Santa,

  Please bring us happy and engaged patients,
  higher HCAHPS scores, awesome communications tools,
  lower readmission rates and higher reimbursements.

  Holly Jingle
  Director of Patient Experience
  North Pole General Hospital

If these items are on your wish list, this is one webinar you can’t afford to miss! 

Are your hospital’s HCAHPS scores less than ideal? Are you missing out on valuable reimbursements? Is patient perception out of line with your patient experience efforts? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, let us share this beneficial information with you. 

Free Educational Webinar!
The experts of Introcomm would like to engage you in a complimentary, one-on-one, educational webinar: “The Patient Experience Puzzle.” Our goal is to provide insight, identify impact points and deliver a go-forward strategy to improve the Patient Experience. This could prove to be the best 20 minute investment you’ll make this year!

Enjoy a Starbucks Coffee Break – It’s on Us!
Introcomm is happy to treat you to a delicious Starbucks treat to thank you for scheduling a webinar. Sit back, relax and enjoy a hot cup of holiday coffee as we present our educational webinar.*

health-care computerScheduling is Easy!
We know that everyone has hectic schedules, especially around the holidays. So, we’re making it easy. Simply indicate the date and time you would like to engage in the webinar, and one of our experts will be happy to accommodate your schedule. Click Here

* A five dollar Starbucks eCard will be emailed to attendees upon completion of the 5 question survey accompanying webinar confirmation

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Reduce Readmissions and Reimbursement Penalties

Posted on November 15, 2012. Filed under: Post By Christy Whipple, Readmission |

“Clearly communicate post-discharge instructions. Patient communication and education is a critical component of readmission prevention.”
Christy Whipple

Under healthcare reform, healthcare providers with high levels of preventable readmissions face the potential of losing a portion of their federal payments. The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, part of CMS’s Inpatient Prospective Payment System, will reduce Medicare reimbursements to hospitals with preventable 30-day readmissions; specifically acute myocardial infarction, heart failure and pneumonia. Furthermore, CMS’s Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program includes measures for readmissions, which will also penalize hospitals for high rates of preventable readmissions. Both programs take effect fiscal year 2013. Currently, almost 20% of hospital inpatients are readmitted within as little as 30 days; for chronic conditions this figure rises to 25%.

Improved Discharge Instructions Reduce Readmission
Following recent data that discharge instructions boost patient satisfaction, comes proof that improved discharge care can reduce hospitals’ readmission rates. Thanks to a recent patient education initiative, Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) has seen readmission rates of heart failure and pneumonia patients fall drastically. CAMC suffered from a 24.54 percent 30 day readmission rate in the first quarter. However after implementing their initiative, in April and May of this year, only 10.64 percent of heart failure patients were readmitted to the West Virginia hospital. Additionally, the hospital saw a significant drop in the number of pneumonia readmissions from 11.11 percent to 4.4.

Chief Quality Officer of CAMC, Dale Wood, credits the success to simplifying discharge instructions. The hospital provides patients with discharge packets and handouts with important reminders, such as taking their medications, visiting their doctor within 14 days of their discharge, monitoring their weight and other important follow-up information.

Preventable Readmissions are Costly
In addition to the high costs associated with preventable readmissions, preventable readmissions rates are increasingly being used as a quality indicator by commercial payers and consumers alike. This can negatively affect hospitals’ bottom line. According to the Colorado Hospital Association, as hospitals look to cut avoidable re-hospitalizations and associated costs, more institutions are starting to amend their discharge processes.

Quality Discharge Instructions in Top 10 Proven Means of Reducing Readmissions
Becker’s Hospital Review recently released an article naming quality post-discharge instructions as one of the top 10 proven ways to reduce preventable hospital readmissions. Their findings were based on a combination of research and successful hospital initiatives. The article states, “Clearly communicate post-discharge instructions. Patient communication and education is a critical component of readmission prevention.”

Introcomm provides custom solutions for the admissions and discharge processes. To learn how we can decrease your hospital’s readmission rates with little to no additional out of pocket expense, please contact us today to schedule our complimentary educational webinar.
Click here to download our complimentary PDF. Learn how Introcomm can help lower readmission rates with a customizable educational marketing tool. 

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