To Curb Hospital Readmissions, Home Visits Double for Recently Discharged Patients

Monday, April 16th, 2012
This post was written by Patricia Donovan

Just months away from CMS penalties for what it deems ‘excessive’ hospital readmission rates, 75 percent of healthcare companies have launched programs to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions.

The Healthcare Intelligence Network annual survey on Reducing Readmissions documented the highest rates of programs targeted to hospital readmission rates in the survey’s three-year history.

Across the board, focus has intensified from last year’s levels on patients with conditions CMS has identified as likely to trigger readmissions — cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, and stroke, as well as on the frail elderly and the commercial population.

Effective management of a patient’s transitions of care, such as from hospital to home or from hospital to nursing home, remains the most effective strategy for reducing readmissions, say 59 percent of respondents.

Also, key interventions at the hospital discharge are performed more frequently: for example, home visits have more than doubled in the last year, and telephonic confirmation of follow-up appointments for recently discharged patients is up 15 percent.

Case managers and registered nurses share equal responsibility for reducing readmissions, say a quarter of respondents, a trend representing a rise in responsibility from 2011 for the RNs.

A total of 119 healthcare companies responded to the survey, administered in February 2012. Download an executive summary of the 2012 survey results.

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