From my own experience, I know first-hand that tracking patients post-discharge is an incredible challenge given the sheer size and scope of the effort. Hospitals release hundreds of patients each day, and communicating with them can be challenging. Many hospitals have begun to focus on those patients who are at greater risk for readmission, such as those with multiple co-morbidities, limited family support, or a history of non-compliance with treatment plans or medication.
Even if case managers or nurse navigators narrow their focus on high-risk patients, the monitoring process can still be time-consuming and resource intensive. This is where technology can help. I spoke to many case managers last month who attended ACMA about this technology. And I wanted to highlight the top three areas of opportunity that can help case managers spend more time caring for patients.
- Mobile app to increase post-acute referrals
- Tablet technology for you and your patients to virtually review post-acute facilities at bedside prior to discharge
- New blue-tooth enabled solutions to monitor patients at home
I’d like to focus on that last bullet because it is so vital for monitoring those high-risk patients that I mentioned. Hospitals can leverage Bluetooth-enabled equipment in conjunction with care management apps to track a patient’s progress and compliance. For example, every time the patient uses a piece of equipment, such as a blood pressure cuff or scale, the readings are automatically visible to the case manager. If the patient skips a reading or the equipment shows a worrisome trend, automatic alerts can be sent for quick intervention. Similarly, if a patient skips a follow-up appointment, the hospital can reach out to the patient and family using the care management app to determine what’s going on.
Organizations that focus their efforts on coordinating care for high-risk patients and implement the proper technology solutions for case managers will go a long way toward reducing unnecessary readmissions, providing better patient care, achieving better outcomes and improving staff satisfaction.