This patient experience case study originally appeared on the Beryl Institute website, showcasing how Pennsylvania Home Care successfully promoted readmissions reduction.
What was the challenge, opportunity or issue faced?
Readmissions reduction is a primary focus for the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Home Care team, specifically for the Caring Way Program. The Caring Way Program’s goal is to provide the best in specialized palliative care so patients can remain at home, preserve their independence and adapt to lifestyle changes during this challenging time. Caring Way is designed for patients who are still receiving treatment while hospice is most appropriate for patients who wish to focus on comfort care.
Often times, readmissions occur because a patient misunderstands care instructions or have questions that need to be answered once a caregiver leaves. Readmissions for Caring Way patients at UPenn Home Care were especially high over the weekends when there was less field staff coverage compared to the work week. As a result, the team decided that they wanted to add an additional touchpoint to communicate with patients in the hopes of reducing readmissions.
What did you do to address it?
UPenn Home Care partnered with CipherHealth in March 2015 to deploy Voice, automated care calls, with their Caring Way patients. With Voice, the agency automatically called Caring Way patients multiple times throughout their episode to identify those most at-risk of readmission, as well as those requiring additional engagement from their home health care team. Patients indicating an issue when answering questions on the call were triaged to the proper home health staff member for prompt resolution.
What outcomes were achieved?
Four months after implementing Voice at UPenn, the readmission rate for the Caring Way patients decreased by 16.3%. Through Voice, the team found 438 identifiable issues, and 186 patients were assisted with urgent concerns. Overall, the Home Health Agency saw significant improvements in decreasing avoidable readmissions after deploying an efficient patient engagement solution.
University of Pennsylvania Medicine
UPenn Medicine is consistently recognized nationally and internationally for excellence in health care. The cornerstone of their reputation is the medical and support staff, who choose to dedicate their careers to serving the needs of their patients and community. UPenn also promotes innovation and teaching excellence. They advance medical science through research and create the next generation of leaders in medicine. The results of these efforts are passed directly onto you, the patient.