Patients who have been discharged from the hospital are more likely to return to the emergency department or be readmitted if they have high levels of pain. According to one study that looked at 30-day readmissions and ER visits following surgeries, patients in the highest reported pain categories also had the highest rate of non-planned readmissions and ER visits. Monitoring pain after patients have been discharged from the hospital allows healthcare teams to better predict who is at risk of readmitting, and it creates opportunities to intervene and prevent readmissions. Providers and their staff can easily monitor pain and other symptoms by using surveys.
Post-discharge surveys, medication adherence surveys and remote health monitoring surveys all enable healthcare teams to capture insights about patients, their symptoms and pain levels. Here are three things to know about using surveys to monitor pain and prevent hospital readmissions:
- Patients are pro-survey.
Patients want their pain controlled, and they want to avoid preventable hospital visits. So, it’s not surprising that many patients say they are eager to participate in monitoring surveys from their healthcare team. West surveyed 1,036 adults and 317 healthcare providers in the U.S. and found that 63 percent of patients who have been admitted to the hospital are very interested in participating in remote monitoring surveys. Also, more than four in ten patients (41%) say surveys would help them report symptoms or pain after being discharged from the hospital.
2. Surveys can be completely automated, making them simple for providers and patients to use.
Manually calling patients to ask them questions about pain and symptoms is time and labor intensive. Fortunately, there is an easier way to capture information from patients. Healthcare teams can use their appointment reminder software to send patients invitations to complete surveys. Including the survey link lets patients easily respond to online surveys and report health data back to their providers.
3. Follow-up is the key to successfully using surveys to keep patients out of the hospital.
Survey responses can inform providers of problems, but follow-up is what resolves issues. For example, if a patient reports that he is suffering from uncontrolled pain, a member of his healthcare team can follow up with the patient to better understand the cause, find out if medication is being taken correctly and help the patient find a resolution. Without follow-up, having patients take surveys is useless. For surveys to be effective, providers need to follow up with patients and use survey data to provide just-in-time treatment.
Surveys can make it easier for healthcare teams to prevent readmissions and trips to the ER. For more information about using surveys to track pain and other symptoms that can lead to readmissions and ER visits, download The Pain Problem: The ER Is the Wrong Place to Treat Chronic Pain.