University Health Consortium’s Advice for Reducing Readmissions

Hospitals across the country are being financially penalized by the Medicare Hospital Readmisisons Reduction Program (HRRP) for higher than expected 30-day readmission rates. In 2014, over half of the nation’s hospitals were penalized a total of $428 million for not meeting the 30-day readmission goals.

Recently, the University Health Consortium (UHC) recognized the need to help organizations reduce hospital readmissions through post-discharge outreach. Instead of relying on in-hospital care, UHC recognizes that the recovery period is where healthcare organizations can have a large impact on identifying and reducing avoidable readmissions. Understanding the need for a solution, however, is different from having one to utilize. This is where CipherHealth’s journey began.

Reducing readmissions is not an easy task, especially under the assumption that inpatient care alone will achieve this goal. If patients return home without a solid understanding of medications, follow-up care plans, or pain management, they may struggle to manage chronic illness or other conditions. Improper adherence to care plans may then lead to unnecessary hospital readmissions.

In 2009, the founders of CipherHealth saw an opportunity to positively impact millions of patients. It was then that former cancer survivors, consultants, EMTs came together to develop CipherOutreach, a post-discharge follow-up solution, to reach patients at home and identify those at high-risk of readmission. Once patients are identified as high-risk, the hospital can reach out to those specific individuals to meet their needs remotely.

Traditionally, floor nurses have been tasked with following up with all discharged patients. With nurses’ demanding work days, there is little time to manually reach 100% of the discharged patient population. Cipheroutreach is successfully reducing readmissions for hospitals for a fraction of the cost of a floor nurse’s time. Automated follow-up calls save energy for the nursing staff, and maximize the time they can dedicate to inpatient care.

CipherHealth customizes post-discharge call scripts for specific patient populations that are especially vulnerable to readmissions, such as heart failure and pneumonia patients. Follow-up outreach is not limited to the inpatient population, and these calls are also sent to emergency department patients, same-day surgery patients, new moms, and more. This comprehensive outreach has helped hospitals successfully reduce readmissions upwards of 80%.

CipherHealth is proud to be a UHC preferred vendor provider to help hospitals meet the very important goal of reducing readmissions and improving patient care. To learn more about our post-discharge follow-up strategies, or for a demo of CipherOutreach, contact us today.

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In her role as Market Manager for Hospitals and Health Systems, Lucia Huang, RN, integrates her previous experiences on the front lines of patient care within the broader context of the business of healthcare. She is passionate about empowering nurses to provide the highest quality and experience of patient care through technology. Lucia graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Economics from the Wharton School and a BSN from the School of Nursing.