Currently, hospitals are engaging in several initiatives to limit readmissions.
For instance, some organizations are pursuing mergers and acquisitions with the goal of keeping care under one umbrella throughout the continuum. The thought is that by strategically acquiring post-acute providers, hospitals can keep patients “in sight” during post-acute care. Unfortunately, this approach is costly and does not directly mitigate the drivers of readmissions.
Some hospitals have also begun forming narrow post-acute networks in which they utilize and perhaps even contract with the “best post-acute providers.” Unfortunately, few institutions are the “best” at caring for every diagnosis. This also does little to raise the bar for other providers and it can limit patient care.
Several hospitals also have opted to increase their workforce to help lessen readmissions, hiring additional discharge planners and care coordinators and/or sending clinicians to follow patients. In fact, I recently heard about an acute-care hospital that increased its fleet of care managers from 12 to 40 in one year. Although adding staff can certainly enhance care coordination, most organizations do not have the necessary resources for such a strategy.
While these efforts can have an impact on readmissions, they do not go nearly far enough and they may not be sustainable. Another option that has a more direct effect involves implementing technology that streamlines and automates the discharge and care coordination process. Technology also enables multi-directional communication for everyone responsible for the patient— care coordinators, doctors, nurses, patients, families, post-acute facilities or home health care. Hospitals who can also loop in and connect with community resources are the ones who ensure the best coordination.
By leveraging technology solutions, health-care organizations are maximizing their human resources, enabling them to concentrate on the care and well-being of patients to successfully reduce readmissions and achieve better outcomes.
Learn more about key readmission reduction strategies in our e-book.