Patient Engagement – A Key To Reduce Readmission

Many buzzwords are battling around healthcare practices and patient engagement is not new. Healthcare is reforming constantly by implementing new technologies and methods. The reforms in technology make hospitals function better while the changes made in quality measures bring better care quality. The bottom line of any provider is to provide quality care to improve the health outcome through cost-effective methodologies.

Though hospitals have been trying to bring out transitions in patient care with emerging technology they are constantly facing same issues over a period of time called readmission. Hospitals that are registered under Medicare bears the pain of being penalized if their patients get readmitted. In Chronic Care Management, patients get 20 minute of care after their discharge and CMS pays for it. The reason behind this payment is to reduce preventable readmission, and emergency room visits.

Each individual’s health outcome depends on the consistent effort taken by primary care physicians, registered nurses, care coordinators, community health workers, family members and the patients themselves. If there is a readmission then it means there is either a gap in care flow or in communication flow. The only solution to this problem is to engage patients in their own care through simple user-friendly technologies.

Smartphones to engage patients

The smartphone is a good companion for every single individual. People spend most of their time interacting with their smartphones. After smartphones hit the market it has opened a door for many portable health devices which now act as an effective tool in engaging patients in their own health.

It is found that 1 out of every 6 people who are aged above 65 have access to tech devices. Growing population adapt technology faster which means many of them in the next Medicare age group will have smartphones. If the providers pay attention to this stat then it is easy to reduce the readmission. The answer to the question “How smartphones can reduce readmission?” is engaging patients through smartphones.

Mobile technology allows the patient to know about the details of their disease, medication plan, sends appointment reminders to both patient and doctor if any wrong occurs, it helps physicians to create care plans and communicate any time with their patients. At the same time, monitoring devices help to continuously observe the health conditions and send messages to the hospital providers to get instant care.

Educating Patients

Some mobile applications have an inbuilt library which has all the details of medical diseases with their causes, symptoms, medications, treatment procedures, risk factors, and preventive measures. This acts as a reference resource for the patients and they have access to all information in one small handy device. Some tracking and monitoring apps take one step further to engage patients more effectively.

Proper Communication

Some hospitals have also seen a positive outcome in simple and secure text messaging. The message will be sent to the patient and physician as an appointment reminder. Patients who reply back are considered as active patients and they have the low possibility of getting readmitted. These responses will also help providers to check the patient availability to fix up the meeting, also it saves time.
Mobile technology also facilitates timely follow up with patients. Chronic Care Patients who have early follow-up within 7 days have lowered the readmission rate.

CCM Readmission Preventive Measures

1. Send the detailed patient medical summary to outpatient care team immediately after discharge
2. Knowing the patient’s immediate point of contact
3. Follow-up with a week after discharge
4. Educating patient about their health condition before discharging
5. Maintain EHR in such a way to reduce medical errors

Better outcomes come from a better system. Collecting proper patient data and involving patients in engagement activities will help in reducing readmissions.

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