Avoiding hospital readmissions is a good thing for a lot of reasons. First, readmissions are costing Medicare $26 Billion per year. Second, hospitals are being penalized for excessive readmissions (in 2013 $288 Million in fines were levied and in 2014, $227 Million in fines will be levied). Third and most importantly, quality of life is much better outside of the hospital than within.
4 Ways to Prevent a Hospital Readmission
There are numerous ways to prevent a readmission. Today, we'll look at 4:
- Subscribe the patient in a Readmission Avoidance Program: There are proven best-practices for avoiding readmissions, including evidence-based programs. These programs engage a care transitions coach (often a nurse or social worker) to follow a set of steps that can avoid a readmission. The steps include monitoring medication adherence, ensuring a follow-up appointment with a primary care physician, educating the patients on the red flags that can cause a readmission and other similar practices. Services are available from hospitals, home health agencies and area departments on aging. Note that Ankota provides software to avoid readmissions and we'd encourage you to learn more at http://ankota.com/care-transitions
- Put the patient on a Congestive Heart Failure care plan. Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) occurs when fluids pool in the body and put stress on the heart. CHF is the number 1 cause of readmissions. A CHF care plan reminds a patient to take their meds, get some exercise and east health, but most importantly it gets a patient weight daily and informs a care team when there is sudden or excessive gain. A program like this can replace a $3,000 hospitalization with a phone call to increase a diuretic prescription. One company that has a great software program for this is iGetBetter (http://igetbetter.com).
- Focus on the main causes of readmissions: According to this article at www.mcknights.com, Sepsis (aka Septicimia) and Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are leading causes of readmissions. Sepsis results from bacterial infections and may be avoided by proper wound care. UTIs might be worth checking for and treating proactively as part of a care transitions program.
- Avoid admissions in the first place: Doctor Andrey Ostrovski, founder of www.careathand.com has developed an evidence based technology for monitoring home care data (e.g., from home health aides) and using it to predict patients at risk of a hospitalization.
How are You Reducing Readmissions:
If you're not doing anything to avoid readmissions, you need to start... Take a hard look at the ideas above. If you are doing something great and would be willing to share, let us know!
Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.