The Push to Reduce Readmissions

Category - Healthcare
by Amanda Cupp on March 6th, 2014

Practical Tools for the Front Line
If you work in a hospital, you’re working to help patients fight the good fight for their health. You’re also on the front lines of a battle that’s happening in hospitals across the country. You’re involved in a huge campaign to reduce readmissions… and the pressure is on.

What’s Going On?
Mandated by the Affordable Care Act, hospitals with readmission rates higher than the national average will be penalized by the federal government. Hospitals faced penalties up to 1 percent of their Medicare reimbursement funds in 2013. The penalty cap increases to 2 percent this year and 3 percent in 2015.

CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) relates frequent readmissions (within 30 days of discharge) to inadequate hospital car, but as you know, that’s often not the case. Many readmissions are not related to the patient’s care while in the hospital, but to what happens when the patient transitions from hospital to home.

What’s the Fix?
Most hospitals are undertaking readmission reduction initiatives. These are multifaceted programs designed to expand patient care beyond hospital walls. They involve a high degree of interaction with the patient and family. They involve massive coordination among nurses, doctors and their office staff, pharmacists, specialty care services (dieticians, therapists), case workers, care coordinators, home health care and hospice providers, skilled nursing facility liaisons, community service organizations, and others. And they involve you.

Readmission reduction programs take time, add a multitude of tasks, and generally do not yield fast results. They are often expanded and revised—adding more components—in hopes of finding the magic mixture of involvement and services.

Tech-Savvy Tools Make a Huge Difference on the Front Line
The common thread connecting all the components is communications. In fact, the ability for all the players to effectively communicate with each other is the lynchpin of your readmissions reduction program.

A state-of-the-art notification service like One Call Now can save all the players hours of time. It allows any authorized personnel—inside the hospital system and out— to create messages and quickly send them to contacts that are stored in a database. Phone messaging isn’t new, but One Call Now’s messaging technology is. It’s loaded with tech-savvy tools that make communications fast, easy and super-efficient.

One Call Now offers multiple sending and delivery methods. Send messages from any phone or any Internet-connected computer. Send voice and/or text messages and have them delivered to cell phones, land lines, email and social media sites. It allows multiple contact points for each name on your contact list and offers two-way communication options. Free smartphone apps are available for senders and recipients to make communications easy when on the go.

One Call Now has automated features that expand your services while eliminating some of your time-consuming tasks. Messages can be automatically customized with names, dates, times and other specifics from a database. Streamline patient reminders with automated messages about upcoming appointments, prescriptions to be filled, medication schedules, discharge instructions, and the next steps in their recovery processes. Multilingual features automatically translate messages to ensure that non-English speaking patients and caregivers get important information. Scheduling options allow you to choose when messages go out.

One Call Now is an affordable service that’s easy to implement. There’s no software to buy, no hardware to install, no additional phone lines are needed. Plus, you don’t need any IT intervention. One Call Now offers a 100% uptime guarantee—the only service provider in the industry to do so—and live U.S.-based customer support is available 24/7/365.

With the spotlight on reducing readmissions, you need tools that will help you streamline processes and maintain the flexibility to seamlessly accommodate new ones.

To learn more, check out our article, One Call Now, How it Works Guide.

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