Using telehealth to reduce hospital readmissions
As the number of Americans enrolling in Medicare continues to increase each year, the need to evaluate and control the expense of health care rises proportionally. A recent study published by Population Health Management (Population Health Management 2013; 16:310–316) has demonstrated the effectiveness of telephonic intervention for reducing hospital readmissions.
In the study, the authors examined whether a postdischarge telephonic intervention for patients reduced 30-day hospital readmissions as compared to a matched control population. To perform the study, the authors examined data collected from this population that received a postdischarge telephonic intervention and were monitored for rehospitalization through medical claims data. Health care costs and utilization generated by patients who received postdischarge contact were then compared to a matched control population that did not receive the intervention. The resulting data were used to determine whether or not the intervention significantly reduced hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries.
Key takeaways from the study include:
- Postdischarge telephonic intervention for patients reduced 30-day hospital readmissions has been shown to be effective in reducing readmission and generate cost savings.
- Patients who received the intervention were less likely tor be admitted to the hospital within 30 days
- The closer the intervention to the date of discharge the greater the reduction in number of hospital readmissions.
- Furthermore, although emergency room visits were reduced in the intervention group as compared to controls physician office visits increased, suggesting the intervention may have encouraged members to seek assistance leading to avoidance of readmission.
- As a group, overall cost savings were $499,458 for members who received the intervention, with $13,964,773 in savings to the health care plan.
- Opportunities for cost reduction in this area are abundant as the US government reported in 2005 that Medicare expenditures for potentially preventable rehospitalizations might be as high as $12 billion a year.
The bottom line is this: hospital readmissions are costly, preventable, and risky for patients; many readmissions are related to fragmentation of care between outpatient, inpatient, and transitional care settings.
At Fonemed we understand that many of these hospital readmissions are potentially avoidable. Our goal is to support healthcare organizations improve their care quality and transitional care with our Care Transitions program. Our Care Transitions program helps our partners identify and address gaps in outpatient follow-up care, improve the patient’s understanding of discharge instructions and provide the help needed for those transitioning from the hospital to the home while reducing costs.
Since 1996, our team of registered nurses has been providing care for some of the most vulnerable in our society on behalf of our clients. If your organization is seeking an experienced partner complete with a team of licensed caregivers with remote monitoring capabilities, look no further than Fonemed – our team and technology can make the difference.
Find out more about our Care Transitions Program or contact us today to find out how we can assist in reining in medical costs associated with Medicare patients returning to the hospital after discharge from preventable complications.
Read the complete study here.