It seems to us, that long gone are the days of “take two aspirin and call me in the morning.” On the contrary, today some patients receive discharge instructions that could be mistaken for a short novel. The fact is that advancements in modern medicine also mean patients and even their caregivers may need to understand more when they’re transitioning from hospital to home. Much work has been done to ensure patients walk out the door with clear understanding of their care, but often times the meaningful words that are shared by their care providers truly do bear repeating. Lutheran Medical Center in Colorado is one such center seeing major results from giving their instructions to their patients a bit of surround sound.
Echo is a recording tool that allows healthcare providers to record discharge instructions to patients that they can access from home as frequently as they would like. Lutheran started with Echo in 2014 in the Surgical and Telemetry Units, both of which have reported high usage of the tool with impressive results:
- A 52 percent decrease in the number of patients with questions or comprehension concerns regarding discharge instructions.
- Higher patient compliance and a reduction in nurse callbacks.
- Significant improvement in HCAHPS in areas related to the information that Echo addresses.
Now, SCL is expanding its use of Echo to its Outpatient Surgical Unit. According to Scott Day, Vice President of Human Resources and Patient Experience for Lutheran: “We’ve learned that patients who have had outpatient surgery may not be able to fully comprehend everything they need to do post-surgery, regardless of how concise and clear their instructions are given. Through the use of Echo, the instructions are recorded along with any relevant recap of the procedure, and patients then have unlimited access to listen to them. We have seen Echo greatly improve the patient experience in other areas, and this is a natural evolution of how we can use it here at Lutheran to improve the experience for our outpatients as well.”
Are we doing enough to ensure patient comprehension of their instructions at discharge? Where would a tool like Echo serve your patient populations best?