Reducing Readmissions and Saving Costs at Intermountain Healthcare

At the recent American Case Management Conference that took place in Washington, DC, Ben Becker, Clinical Communications Center Director at Intermountain Healthcare, shared his team’s journey in improving patient outcomes with their clinical call center team, Health Answers, and CipherHealth’s post-discharge follow-up calls. The conference brought together over 1000 case management professionals and leaders from all over the country.

During his presentation, Ben captivated the audience by sharing how the system innovated upon its post-discharge follow-up processes to improve efficiency and reduce readmissions. During his presentation, Ben walked attendees through his team’s structure, purpose, and use of technology to drive towards organizational goals. He also highlighted Intermountain Healthcare’s calculations showing how CipherOutreach allowed them to call 100% of discharged inpatients and ED patients with 21 FTEs full-time equivalent, instead of an estimated 79-80 FTEs.

With CipherOutreach, the Health Answers team is able to focus on the resolution of patient issues flagged by the automated follow-up calls instead of attempting to call every patient and uncover who may or may not have an issue. By utilizing the technology, multiple calls go out to patients, giving options for when patients can engage with the calls. By prioritizing the use of the call center employee’s time, patient issues are addressed and resolved within minutes of identified of an issue.

An example shared with the audience was that of a Spanish-speaking mother who was given discharge instructions in English. She was unsure whether to pull out the packing in her son’s nasal bandage or wait until it fell out. Of course, neither option is the proper protocol. Once the issue was identified and routed in real-time to the Health Answers team, a nurse promptly called back the caregiver and explained the proper procedure, scheduling a doctor’s appointment for the mother and son so that the packing could be removed by a clinician. Accentuating the need for appropriate discharge processes and the importance of effective check-ins after patients leave the hospital, Ben stated, “I hear such stories every day.”

The results reported by the system are impressive. For patients engaging in the CipherOutreach calls, there was a 10% lowered 30-day readmission rate and a 28.5% lowered 5-day ED Bounce Back Rate. On average, it took the Health Answers team less that 30 minutes to intervene once an alert was automatically triggered and routed to them.

For more information on CipherOutreach and how it can help improve patient outcomes while streamlining your follow-up process, contact us today.

As CipherHealth’s Chief Nursing Officer, Lisa Romano, MSN, RN brings more than 25 years of experience in clinical practice, healthcare IT strategy, and healthcare operations to her current role. Prior to previous CNO roles, Lisa spent 19 years as a nurse and hospital administrator at Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network in Allentown, PA, where she was responsible for all patient flow and transfer center operations as well as numerous quality and patient satisfaction initiatives. Lisa is passionate about improving the health of patients across the healthcare continuum.