New “Breaking the Readmissions Cycle” report reveals that patients and providers agree hospital readmissions can be avoided if chronic patients manage their conditions better and providers more consistently at check in with patients following hospitalization.
- Three in four patients (76 percent) with a chronic illness believe they could avoid being readmitted to the hospital if they managed their condition better; 91 percent of healthcare providers agree.
- 61 percent of healthcare professionals and 43 percent of patients say chronic patients are unsure of what to do after being discharged.
- Only 39 percent of hospitals automatically follow up with every patient after discharge.
- Less than half of patients are regularly asked about known readmission risks: medication use (47%), pain levels (39%) and follow-up care (43%).
MOBILE, Ala., March 15, 2018—Less than half of patients are even somewhat confident they are effectively managing their chronic conditions, a problem that directly impacts hospital readmissions, according to a new report released today by West, a leading provider of technology-enabled patient engagement communications, including the well-known TeleVox Solutions. The report also reveals that providers are missing opportunities to follow up with patients post-discharge and ask patients about known readmission risk factors.
“Three in four patients with chronic illnesses believe they could avoid being readmitted to the hospital if they managed their own disease better,” said Allison Hart, West’s chief market research and insights strategist. “Healthcare providers overwhelmingly agree (91 percent), but many aren’t taking advantage of technology-enabled communications to educate and engage with their patients in the first 48 hours after patients are released from the hospital.”
The study, titled Breaking the Readmissions Cycle: Minimizing Readmission Risks Through Better Patient Communications,” also found that even though approximately 75 percent of hospitals are consistently penalized for readmissions, only 39 percent automatically follow up with every patient after discharge. “It’s clear that the complexity of managing chronic conditions is more than many patients can handle on their own, yet ongoing support and follow-up from providers is limited,” said Hart. As a result, many patients are stuck in a cycle of becoming ill, being hospitalized and released, and then being readmitted for the same condition.
Both patients and providers agree that ongoing chronic disease management is needed. Survey findings revealed that 91 percent of patients say they need help managing their disease, yet fewer than half of patients (48 percent) realize taking their medication and being aware of warning signs can help prevent readmissions. Patients are also unsure of what to do after being discharged, according to 61 percent of healthcare providers and 43 percent of patients. Improving communication efforts around known risk factors, including medication use, pain management, lifestyle choices and follow-up care, is critical to reducing readmissions.
As West’s report shows, healthcare providers can leverage technology-enabled communications to engage patients at home where they need the most support. This approach has proven effective for healthcare organizations that are using patient engagement technology to create, schedule and send post-discharge communications. Wider implementation across the healthcare industry can be used to educate, encourage and monitor chronic patients—and break the readmissions cycle.