February 5, 2020
Improved Communication Reduces Readmissions by 40%

Urban medical center and SNF avoid readmission through collaboration

Why good communication is the key to keeping patients healthy

Researchers at Montefiore Medical Center found a 40% improvement in patient readmissions thanks to enhanced communication between facilities. Published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, the study examined the interactions among professionals at an urban hospital and a partnering skilled nursing facility.

 

Inspired by proven palliative care training, researchers encouraged the facilities to maintain efficient, friendly rapport at the point of “handoff.” They also helped them create “comprehensive discharge packets” for patients. Aſter just 2 cycles, contributors reported positive improvement, with only 4 out of 10 patients being readmitted aſter 30 days.

 

 

Speak up, ship out

When the medical center discharged patients into the care of the skilled nursing facility, workers followed a process based on popular PC principles. The new standardized system showed great promise, enhancing clinical outcomes while meeting the study’s main objective aſter just 3 months of implementation.

Per the study’s abstract, the aim was to “reduce the 30 day all cause readmission rate at an urban medical center for skilled nursing facility discharges [from] 18% in 2018 to 16% from April to December 2019.” Moving forward, researchers hope to “continue to discover other factors and decrease readmission for chronically ill nursing home patients at our urban medical center.”

For Medicare providers, unplanned 30-day hospital readmissions are incredibly significant. When SNFs return residents to the hospital, their rates plummet, resulting in harsh payment penalties (levied by CMS). Today’s regulation not only threatens facilities’ profits, but also motivates providers to improve care quality.

Despite the complexities involved in treating chronic illness, the study shows the viability of enhanced communication. Cooperating facilities can make a profound impact on patient health, wellness and longevity through better written and verbal collaboration at the point of discharge and reception. The solution is safe, simple and inexpensive.

What more could an administrator ask for?