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Case Study

CipherHealth’s Outreach Solutions Reduce Hospital Readmissions by 56 Percent

Patient engagement with post-discharge outreach calls shrinks 30-day readmissions rates across 880,000 patients and 38 hospital systems.


CipherHealth performed an analysis of 38 health systems and 74 outreach programs between 2017 – 2020, looking specifically at patient engagement rates with CipherOutreach calls and aggregated readmissions. In that timeframe, these programs called 880,000 patients in total. This patient-centered, data-driven approach yielded a 56 percent reduction in readmission rates — representing an estimated average annual savings of $12.4 Million in operating costs per health system.

Key Insights

In this analysis of three years of data, 880,000 patients who were discharged from the 38 health systems were called through CipherHealth’s automated outreach solution to flag any changes in pain levels, identify issues filling prescriptions, answer questions about discharge instructions or follow-up appointments and prevent hospital readmissions.

CipherHealth identified several key findings:

Based on these results, if your health system were using CipherHealth for outreach with an annual average issue volume of 10,000 per category, we estimate that an average of 862 readmissions would be prevented each year, saving $12.4M based on $14.4K avg. cost savings for an avoided readmission.

Insights by Condition

CipherHealth analyzed data from 13 chronic heart failure (CHF) care providers and 26,000 patients, as well as 8 Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) care providers and 5,600 patients, between 2017 – 2020.

  • Chronic heart failure (CHF) patients who answered all questions in their follow-up call were readmitted 57 percent less often
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients who answered all questions in their follow-up call were readmitted 45 percent less often
What Difference Does a Question Make?

With CipherOutreach, patients who pick up a call and answer the clinically-related automated questions are considered “clinically reached.” If a patient indicates a concern during the call, nurses receive an automatic notification and contact the patient to try to resolve the issue or provide tailored care plans. In CipherHealth’s analysis, patients who answered the CipherOutreach call and engaged with the clinical questions were less likely to readmit within 30 days:

  • 5.9 percent fewer patients were readmitted if they completed the call compared to those who were unreached
  • 4.4 percent fewer patients who flagged they weren’t feeling well and answered every question were readmitted compared to those who didn’t answer every question
  • 11.4 percent fewer CHF patients who completed the call were readmitted
  • 7 percent fewer COPD patients who completed the call were readmitted

Follow-up calls also played an important role: 3.5 percent fewer patients were readmitted if they flagged they weren’t feeling better and the callback from the nurse came in less than 12 hours compared to 12-24 hours.

By reaching and engaging more patients through automated post-discharge outreach calls, hospital systems were better positioned to support them after they had transitioned home.


CipherHealth’s data shows that proactively engaging all patients through post-discharge calls is proven to reduce readmissions. The key to improving engagement with automated calls is to make sure patients know how valuable it is to answer. Healthcare systems have the opportunity to:

  • Educate patients, including condition-specific patients, about the CipherOutreach call before discharge so they know to expect it and will be more likely to engage
  • Identify more patients who are “feeling worse” and prioritize them
  • Reduce callback time for patients who flag issues and provide them with the personalized care they need

Over three years, from January 2017 until December 2019, a leading university hospital prevented 7,165 readmissions through post-discharge outreach calls. Patients who were clinically reached were readmitted seven percent less than those who were unreached. The costs saved (based on $14,000 per patient readmission) are a staggering $103,176,000. Patient engagement with CipherHealth Outreach Solutions led to a measurable and noteworthy return on investment.

About CipherHealth’s Outreach Solutions

CipherHealth offers a robust suite of multimodal, targeted outreach programs that drive meaningful conversations among patients, providers and caregivers both in pre-care and post-care settings. Messages can be sent via Voice or SMS at a designated time and with a personalized script for the individual patient.

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