The importance of customized follow-up for orthopedic patients

When patients undergo an orthopedic procedure, it is likely they will have a plethora of discharge instructions due to the intense nature of most surgeries. Because of the strain these procedures put on patients, many are not discharged straight home and are instead sent to skilled nursing facilities (SNF’s). While SNF’s provide additional support for patients, those who are at home without professional care need additional support and are at higher risk levels for readmission. For this reason, ortho patients should receive proactive follow-up care based upon where they are discharged to after their hospital or clinic visit.

When we worked with one of our clients to develop a proactive outreach program using CipherOutreach, we wanted to ensure each patient received the most comprehensive follow-up regardless of whether or not they were discharged to home or to an SNF. What we found is that when patients go straight home, they are more likely to overexert themselves and misinterpret the instructions given to them by their doctors. To combat this confusion, CipherOutreach makes two calls to patients who received orthopedic surgery and went straight home – one in the week immediately after the procedure, and one the week after that. In the first call, patients are asked about their general status, specifically on how the incision site looks and on how to spot infection. Patients are also asked about their pain level/management—can the pain be managed with the meds provided, etc.? Because patients receive these two calls, and are provided with extremely important information, they are less likely to be readmitted to the hospital following their procedure.

For patients who go to SNF’s, they receive one follow-up call because they are under close monitoring by nurses. It is not necessary for the patients to be able to spot infection themselves since the nurses are trained to do so and can reinforce important information to patients at the facility. Once patients are discharged from the skilled nursing facility, CipherOutreach sends out calls to ensure patients are still on the right track. It also provides additional opportunities for the patient to express their concerns either from their surgery or with their care at the SNF.

These targeted CipherOutreach programs provide orthopedic surgery patients with the information needed to prevent readmissions regardless of whether they are discharged home or to a SNF. Our best practices for orthopedic patients are an example of how we achieve our client’s goals. We partner to understand the needs of each unique patient population to bring the most effective and comprehensive follow-up programs to life. Because of this we have seen tremendous success in not only reducing readmissions for orthopedic patients, but in increasing patient satisfaction overall.

CipherHealth empowers providers across the care continuum to deliver enhanced patient experiences and communications through a modular, comprehensive patient engagement technology platform.