6 Strategies Help Stem Hospital Readmissions, Streamline Processes and Care Transitions

Thursday, February 27th, 2014
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Development of post-acute partnerships with home health, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and hospice is emerging as a key strategy to stem hospital readmissions, according to new market data from the fourth annual Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN) Reducing Hospital Readmissions Survey.

More than half of survey respondents participate in post-acute partnerships, with home health collaborations the most common (79 percent). These partnerships serve to streamline processes and care transitions, educate and align staff, and implement changes of value to patients, respondents say.

Looking at more conventional approaches, medication reconciliation and telephonic monitoring of patients post-discharge emerged as frontrunner strategies to curb readmissions. Moreover, the 2013 survey revealed significant upticks in the use of each tactic over 2012 levels: medication reconciliation is now conducted by 73 percent of respondents, versus 54 percent in 2012, while the use of telephonic monitoring jumped from 48 to 71 percent over the same 12-month period.

In other new data, almost half of respondents — 47 percent — aim programs at individuals already assessed at high risk for readmission as well as traditional Medicare (53 percent), Medicaid (28 percent) and high utilizer (23 percent).

Other key findings include the following:

  • Two-thirds of respondents to HIN’s December 2013 Readmissions e-survey have a program to reduce readmissions.
  • In a new metric from the 2013 survey, more than half — 52 percent — aim readmission reduction efforts at individuals with diabetes.
  • Case management is the most successful approach to curbing rehospitalizations, say 27 percent. The case manager retains chief responsibility for reducing readmissions, say 34 percent of respondents.
  • Heart failure remains the top condition targeted by programs, although a fifth already track readmissions for hip and knee replacements, a metric the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will examine more closely in 2015.

Excerpted from 2014 Healthcare Benchmarks: Reducing Hospital Readmissions.

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