Three in four patients with a chronic illness believe they could avoid being readmitted if they managed their own disease better, and nine in ten healthcare providers agree. Yet, less than a third of hospitals automatically follow up with every patient after discharge.1
Proactive patient communication is key to engaging with patients at home and providing the daily and continuous support they need. Here are six ways providers can leverage their patient engagement technology to reduce readmissions:
- Schedule follow-up appointments. Currently, only 37% of patients plan follow-up visits with their provider and just 36% keep their appointments.2 Since most patients don’t schedule appointments themselves, providers can do it for them and use automated appointment reminders to ensure patients attend.
- Remind patients to take medications. Less than half of patients (48%) realize taking their medications can help prevent readmissions.3 Automated messages can remind patients to fill their prescriptions, take their medications correctly and monitor potential side effects.
- Monitor pain and other symptoms. Fewer than half of patients (48%) are aware that severe pain and disease symptoms are warning signs their condition may be worsening.4 Remote check-ins can monitor patients’ symptoms so issues can be identified and addressed early before they become more serious.
- Ask about readmission risks. Less than half of patients are regularly asked about known readmission risk factors.5 Touching base with patients often and asking about medication use, pain levels and follow-up care helps identify gaps in care so providers can reinforce the importance of following treatment plans.
- Anticipate patient questions. Only a third of chronic patients (33%) call their providers with questions, which means when unexpected issues arise patients often don’t know what to do.6 Automated two-way communications allow providers to proactively address common issues and allow patients to easily connect.
- Focus on lifestyle and behavior changes. Two-thirds of providers (63%) believe that patients’ lifestyle choices contribute to readmissions.7 Chronic patients need help making lifestyle improvements, such as sticking to a recommended diet and following an exercise routine. Ongoing education and tips in the form of automated notifications give patients the encouragement and confidence they need to make long-term changes.
It’s clear that patients need more support to help them better manage their chronic conditions. Increasing outreach doesn’t require a large investment of time or money when providers leverage their technology-enabled communications to provide the education, monitoring and follow-up care patients need to prevent readmissions.
All references are from the West report “Breaking the Readmissions Cycle:”
1 p. 5 & p. 9, 2p. 13, 3p. 13, 4p. 13, 5p. 13, 6p. 13, 7p. 8