Reducing readmissions isn’t easy. That much is clear from the $17 billion Medicare spends annually on avoidable readmissions.
In spite of the complexities, Premier® member hospitals and health systems are tackling the problem head on, successfully reducing their readmission rates and associated penalties. They’re getting it right by focusing on four successful approaches to achieve sought-after results.
1: They Command Their Data
Hospitals that are successfully reducing readmissions live and breathe their data. They don’t view data as sensitive, top-secret material that resides only in the executive suite, but rather as a tool to be shared throughout their organizations to get the job done. Successful hospitals continually look at readmissions from a variety of data points (e.g., slicing the data by payer, age, discharge type, physician and diagnosis) to get to the root cause of the problem.
2: They Understand the Human Story
Once they’ve identified the root causes, these hospitals make person-to-person connections to really understand what’s happening with patients after discharge. They talk to the patients themselves, their care plan partners or the providers who sent them to the hospital to flesh out the details. This type of real-life insight can only be acquired through discussion; it’s not likely to be found during chart reviews. Timely contact with patients after they leave the hospital is crucial to understanding the total picture.
3: They Employ a Multifaceted Strategy
These hospitals have found that implementing a portfolio of strategies to reduce readmission rates, rather than taking a single approach, ensures the most success. Their strategies include:
Improving the standard of care for all patients;
Actively collaborating with providers across care settings once patients have transitioned from the hospital; and
Deploying enhanced transitional care services for populations at the highest risk for readmission, such as Medicaid patients.
4: They Use Technology to its Fullest
Better. Quicker. Automated. Successful hospitals are using notifications, implementation tracking, performance measurement dashboards and other tools to make their multifaceted readmission reduction strategies a seamless part of day-to-day patient care, and to enable hospital leaders to continually drive higher levels of performance.
Results-driven hospitals realize that change in quality outcomes happens at the point of care delivery. It means influencing people beyond your supervisory range and beyond your department. The good news is you don’t have to go at it alone.
To learn more about how to influence change and achieve desired readmissions outcomes, listen in on our recent on-demand webinars. Hear from a national readmissions reduction expert, Amy Boutwell, MD, MPP, on how to reduce two of the most common contributing factors to readmissions: uncoordinated care and ineffective care transitions. And find out how Appalachian Regional Healthcare System reduced their readmission rates by 27.4 percent.