All That You Need To Know About Patient Readmission Rates

What is Patient Readmission?

Patient readmission happens when a discharged patient is again admitted to the hospital within a specified period. CMS used different time frames for research purposes, the most common being 30-days, 90-days and 1-year readmission. They define patient readmission as “An admission to an acute care hospital within 30 days of discharge from the same or another acute care hospital”. It uses an “all-cause” definition, meaning that the cause of the readmission need not be related to the cause of the initial hospitalization. The CMS set the time frame to 30 days because readmission during this time is a result of the care given at the hospital and how well they coordinated the discharges.

Why does Patient Readmission happen?

Before knowing why readmission happens, there are two terminologies that we must know to understand it better.

Index Hospitalization – The original hospital stay i.e when a patient gets admitted for a treatment in a hospital is “index admission”.

Hospital Readmission Rates – The rate at which a hospital readmitted its patients is a “hospital readmission rate”.  In other terms, it is an outcome or a quality measure of care given by health systems.

Here are the top four reasons for patient readmissions,

  1. Importance of paying heed to the physician – Mr. Hayden got admitted to a hospital for a knee surgery. The physician advised him to take complete rest. He did not listen to the physician and strained himself resulting in severe leg pain. Now Mr.Hayden is then re-admitted to the hospital. In this case, the patient should have paid attention to his physician’s advice.
  2. Recovery Instructions – Dr. Adams is a cardiologist. He performed an open heart surgery on one of his patients. Since Dr. Adams was busy with many other surgeries on the same day he couldn’t give the patient instructions regarding post-surgery clinical exercises. He entrusts a nurse with the job. The nurse forgets to instruct the patient about the prescribed exercises. The patient then gets readmitted to the hospital complaining of chest pain. It is the responsibility of the specialist to give the required instructions to his patient and help them recover quicker.
  3. Communication between the patient and the specialist – Mr. Mark gets admitted to the hospital for ulcer treatment. The patient fails to give his complete health problems to the specialist. The specialist does not probe much and gives the usual treatment. Mark is fine for a week after discharge but is then re-admitted for the same problem. It is important for the patient to share all his problems with the specialist and it is the duty of the specialist to understand the complete health history of the patient.
  4. Continuous care to the patient after discharge – Dr. George is an Orthopedic specialist. His patient is suffering from arthritis. The patient needs continuous monitoring and care. The specialist is mostly not reachable over the phone for doubts. Here arises the need for technology, a software that can help both the patient and the specialist in continuous assessment.

Patient readmission risks

Readmission rates decide the quality of care given by the physicians. The CMS introduced the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 penalizing the health systems having higher than expected readmission rates through the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program. They specifically designed the program for incentivizing hospitals that had higher readmission rates of 20% in 2010. CMS reduced the reimbursements of the hospitals depending on the rate of the breach which was effective in reducing the readmission rates by 2% in 2013.

Ways to Reduce Patient Readmission Rates

A study presented by the Harvard Business Review found that on average, a hospital can reduce its readmission rates by 5% if it simply prioritized communication with patients while also complying with evidence-based standards of care. The following steps are a great initiative in cutting down the readmission rates.

  • Scheduling follow-up appointments After a patient gets discharged it is essential to get in touch with him to inquire about his well-being. The appointments need not be face-to-face always. The physicians can conduct appointments through audio or video calls or sometimes even through messaging or e-mails. It will help the physician in knowing how well the patient is after the treatment or surgery.
  • Long-term relationships with patients – Patient engagement is the key to reduce patient readmission rates. Rehabilitation programs, good nursing team, home care, wellness programs etc can improve patient engagement and thus reduce readmissions.
  • Technology to play a vital role – A software to monitor the patients continuously can really help in solving the readmission rates problem in a cost-effective way. It also provides many other advantages and reduces manual work.

How can technology help in curbing readmission risks?

Information Technology is everywhere, so why not in healthcare? HealthViewX Care Management Solution helps the providers in monitoring and providing care to patients anywhere. It allows the provider to create a care plan for the patient. The care plan comprises many vitals, activities, treatments etc. The provider can select the appropriate ones and create a care plan. The patient who has a mobile application gets notified about the care plan. He can go about recording data for the vitals or measurements given. Both the patient and the provider can view the data in form of graphs or tables which will help the provider to keep an eye on the patient’s vitals. The following features help the hospitals in monitoring the patients easily and thus reducing the readmission risks.

  1. Electronic Care Plans – Care plans to monitor patient’s vitals, measurements, etc. If required,  it can also be printed and handed over to the patient.
  2. Patient Reported Data – Patients can record data for all attributes in the care plan. Summary graphs and table data helps the provider in monitoring the patient’s vitals. The physicians can print reports at any time in pdf or excel form.
  3. Health Device Integration – HealthViewX Care Management Solution can integrate with any wearable device like Fitbit, Apple watch, etc. Hence the patients need not waste time in logging data in the application if they are already using wearables.
  4. Follow-up Appointments – The solution enables to schedule follow-up appointments and sends reminders to both the patient and the provider. It also has inbuilt audio and video calling features to support such meetings.

HealthViewX Care Management Solution offers a range of advantages and lessens the chances of a patient getting readmitted. To know more about our solution, schedule a demo with our expert team who will guide you through the process. Schedule a demo with us to learn more.