Reducing hospital readmission rate; a strategy paper


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Suggested strategies on reducing hospital readmission rate and ways of quantifying improvements

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Reducing hospital readmission rate; a strategy paper

  1. 1. 1 Running Head:Reducing Hospital readmission rate Ahmed;2013 Reducing Hospital readmission rate and how to quantify improvements achieved; a strategy proposition paper. By Ahmed Otokiti, M.B.,B.S. CCRP.
  2. 2. Reducing Hospital readmission rate Ahmed;2013 Abstract This essay tries to strategically solve the problem of Hospital readmission. Various aspects of implementing the strategies developed, monitoring implementation while simultaneously measuring success of strategies adopted are highlighted. How to ensure evidence based practicethru research and systematic assessment is also shown.
  3. 3. Reducing Hospital readmission rate Ahmed;2013 Strategies on reducing Hospital readmission rate and ways to Measure Improvement. Introduction The Federal Government presently loses up to 17 billion dollars to avoidable hospital readmission of patients (Baum S. 2013).It is for this reason that the Government has decided, as part of the implementation of the Affordable care act, to set a penalty for hospital reimbursement for patients that are readmitted within 30 days of discharge from the hospital. Patients admitted for Myocardial infarction (M.I), Pneumonia and congestive heart failure (CHF) who are readmitted within 30 days shall have a 1-2% penalty reduction in reimbursement. (Baum S.2013). For a lot of hospitals, the financial implication of this penalty fee is a huge burden considering the fact that most hospitals are presently struggling with poor finances and imminent closure hence why it is important to take proactive evidence based approach at solving the problem at hand. The main cause of readmission as identified by Robert Wood Johnson foundation in their two part report was mainly due to communication breakdown/communication gap between patients and the health care team in charge during the discharge process(Baum S.2013).Many of these patients are elderly with so much medication and instructions whichcan be overwhelming for them. Particularly, instructions about medications and wrong interpretations have been identified. Also identified as a cause of readmission is the lack of appropriate follow up with patients primary care physicians(PCP) due to several logisticreasons which can includes lack of transportation and lack of primary care physician. Although some reasons are avoidable, other
  4. 4. Reducing Hospital readmission rate Ahmed;2013 reasons are beyond control for the hospitals, such issues like; lack of compliance by the patient, patients whose conditions are highly morbid and terminal, uninsured patient who do not have primary care physician coverage. In other to tackle this problem, I will recommend the hospital not set up Teams as this would only be a replication of responsibility and redundancy. The hospital’s quality assurance review committee (QARC) should be charged with the responsibility of overseeing and monitoring implementation of all strategies recommended to the unit and departments directly in charge of implementing these strategies. Also another reason not to set up teams is that unequal level of knowledge and ability among team members can result in some dominating and others being overwhelmed and lost in the crowd (Liebler, McConnell 2007. P339). In other to implement the strategy to achieve the goal of reducing the readmission rate, we shall utilize the balanced scorecard as a strategic management system( Kaplan, Norton, 2006). In this system each of the unit head shall be mandated to deliver based on the four perspectives of translating vision and strategy into action. These perspectives are Financial, Patient satisfaction, internal business process and Potential for learning and growth. Each of these perspective shall be guided by the need to fulfill the objectives set while periodically measuring the achievements against a backdrop of a set target using the initiatives recommended( Kaplan, Norton, 2006). Strategies, Implementation, Monitoring and Quantifying Improvement. The overall goal is to reduce hospital readmission rate by 50% in the twelve months from day of implementation of strategy. The pharmacy unit, transportation unit and Information Technology/communication department(I.T) heads shall be directly involved in the
  5. 5. Reducing Hospital readmission rate Ahmed;2013 implementation of the strategies .Each unit is expected to contribute as outlined here, to the overall reduction in readmission over 12 months; Pharmacy department to contribute a 30% reduction ,transportation and communication unit to contribute 10% respectively. This intervention strategy shall be called Educate and Follow up initiative (EFI). Pharmacy Department A reconciliation, assessment and education program shall be instituted by the department head based on the recommendation of the QARC. The pharmacy unit shall be notifiedof any Patient with CHF,M.I and pneumonia bound for discharge. Upon this notification, the unit shall proceed to assign a member of its staff to approach the patient comparing the patient’s prescriptions at arrival and departure, verifying dosages and checking to see if anything is missing, duplicated or unnecessary increased. Also educating the patient on side effects of medication, providing details about dosage and also providing a material booklet that summarizes the medication dosages with pictures of the medication included for easy reference. Patients shall also be given a month supply of medication and billed for that later on follow up. Transportation Unit Part of the problem identified as cause of readmission is inability for patients to follow up with their PCP post discharge due to lack of transportation. As part of the services to ensure continuity of care, patients who live within a predetermined radius shall be offered the transportation services from their home to the PCP in other to make it for their follow up appointment. Information technology and Communication Unit (I.T)
  6. 6. Reducing Hospital readmission rate Ahmed;2013 Upon notification by the Attending physician, the I.T department shall initiate an automated phone call to the head of the pharmacy unit about the patient bound for discharge with such information as patient’s diagnosis, length of hospital stay, and medical record number. Also The I.T department shall proceed to create an automated phone call to every discharged patient on the third day post discharge and 1 month post discharge. This is so as to further inquire about any issues with their medication and should they need help. Monitoring and Quantifying Improvement Monthly Reportand Assessment. Inother to ensure accountability, each of the department head shall submit a monthly report to the QARC detailing the number of readmissions for the month, the diagnosis of patients readmitted and the reasons for readmission. The QARC shall proceed to compute the percentage reduction achieved by each unit compared to the target set. Also these rates of reduction shall be quantified in dollar value as it pertains to amount saved with reduction in readmission rate. This overall result shall be placed on bulletin boards and sent as an email to all members of the department concerned. That way every staff understands their input goes beyond their daily job and as such their individual duties have an overall effect on hospital sustainability. Also the department heads would be made to understand that the result are not meant to be for retribution or to serve as punitive measure but rather to provide an opportunity to grow and improve (Vermillion, Terry, Davis, Owens, 2010). They can achieve this by looking thru the result,reexamining the process and coming forth with ways of overcoming the problem upon identifying the cause of a poor outcome. All resources requested shall be provided to the managers in the implementation of these strategies.
  7. 7. Reducing Hospital readmission rate Ahmed;2013 Evidence Based study/Surveillance As part of gathering evidence and data to support or stop the interventions employed. A protocol shall be submitted to the Institutional review Board for clinical research (IRB) for approval to undertake a clinical study. A retrospective study to compare the rate of readmission in patients with CHF, M.I and pneumonia who had undergone the EFI as against rate of readmission in those patients who had not undergone the EFI prior to its commencement. This study shall be carried out aftersix months into the intervention and should there be evidence showing no improvement, then the QARC shall be required to come up with new strategies. Incentives Forty percent of the end of year bonuses for the managers and head of departments involved shall be tied to the rate of achievement of goals and objectives. This would be calculated in a predetermined manner which is open and transparent to all.
  8. 8. Reducing Hospital readmission rate Ahmed;2013 Conclusion Reducing Hospital readmission is one of the measures thruwhich the Government hopes to achieve a reduction in health care spending. Hospitals need to tackle this problem realistically,considering the penaltyfee that comes with it as hospitals are struggling with their finances. Although setting up teams can help with implementation of strategies,they also come with their setbacks. Most importantly, the hospital should have measures in place to aid flexibility should there be a need to change the strategies adopted.
  9. 9. Reducing Hospital readmission rate Ahmed;2013 References Baum S (2013).New report asks what drives hospital readmission rates and what can be done. Med CityNews. Retrieved on June 15, 2013from report-asks-what-drives-hospital-readmission-rates-and-what-can-be-done/ Kaplan, R. S., & Norton, D. P. (2006). How to Implement a New Strategy Without Disrupting Your Organization. Harvard Business Review, 84(3), 100-109. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Liebler J.G, McConnell C.R. (2007). Management principles for Health professionals. (5th Edition).Jones & Bartlett Learning. Sudbury, MA Vermillion, K., Terry, A., Davis, S., & Owens, K. (2010).innovations in performance management. hfm (Healthcare Financial Management), 64(5), 98-104. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.