A surprising number of patients – 1 in 5, in fact – experience an adverse post-discharge event such as infections or procedural complications within 30 days of release. This adds a significant cost to the United States healthcare system, contributing an extra $15 to $20 billion annually. What’s more, 30 percent of these readmissions are preventable, and nearly a quarter are ameliorable.
It’s no secret that hospitals need to address the post-discharge problem; in November 2015, CMS proposed a ruling that requires hospitals to establish post-discharge follow-up programs. Furthermore, post-discharge calls have started to become an essential element of payer reimbursements – some insurers require patient answers to post-discharge survey questions – which makes them absolutely crucial for health systems’ financial standings.
But looking at post-discharge calling solely as a requirement for earning payer reimbursements is a mistake; checking in with patients after clinical appointments provides the opportunity to ensure patients adhere to their ongoing care instructions, schedule future appointments, recommend referrals, and more. All of these initiatives enhance the patient experience and create patients for life. In fact, Accenture found that hospitals that provide superior patient experiences achieve up to 50 percent higher margins.
A patient’s journey shouldn’t end when he or she is released from the hospital; communication post-discharge increases long-term loyalty. By updating call center processes, you can optimize post-discharge calling to focus on improving patient retention and regain the estimated $8 billion in lost revenue.