New research shows that patients who receive follow-up calls after hospital discharge are significantly less likely to return to the emergency room in the first week
NEW YORK, New York, June 14, 2022 — A newly released clinical study examining the link between post-hospital-discharge telephone calls to patients and emergency department revisits within seven days found that the use of CipherHealth post-discharge outreach solutions was associated with a dramatic decrease in readmissions.
The study, undertaken by doctors at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital/University of California San Francisco and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), examined the efficacy of a callback program using post-discharge outreach from CipherHealth, a recognized leader and innovator in patient-centered communications, engagement, and insights for the nation’s leading healthcare systems.
The study, involving more than 8,000 patients who had been discharged from emergency departments, split patients into two groups: those who would receive an automated callback two days after ED discharge, and those who wouldn’t. The results were dramatic: patients who received a call two days after ED discharge were about one-fourth less likely to be seen again in the ED within their first week. The readmission rate dropped between the two cohorts from 10.3% for the no-contact group to 7.6% for the contacted group.
“We have seen time and time again through speaking with our outreach customers that strategic outreach at pivotal points in the patient journey—particularly after discharge—has real and tangible effects on readmission rates,” said CipherHealth Chief Executive Jake Pyles. “It’s incredibly heartening to see these results published in JAMA and have the validation of our post-discharge outreach solutions confirmed.”
The study was undertaken by Scott Fruhan, MD, of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, and Corey B. Bills, MD, MPH, now of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado, Aurora.
In addition to reduced readmission rates, the patients who received post-ED-discharge follow-up calls showed improvements in quality-of-care metrics: They were more likely to have followed up with a clinician, more likely to say they understood their health issues, and more likely to have received their discharge medications.
“Particularly at a time when hospital bed utilization is surging, this demonstrates a clear path to help hospitals make a dent in reducing readmissions,” said Summer Brown, CipherHealth Chief Customer Officer. “And beyond easing capacity issues, reducing readmissions helps to mitigate costs, curb staff burnout, avoid treatment delays, and, critically, avoid adverse outcomes.”
To read the full study, click here.