Thought Leader’s Corner, January

Lee Barrett was featured in “Thought Leader’s Corner” for the January issue of Readmissions News.

Readmissions News:

What is the greatest challenge in 2014 – for policymakers, plans, providers or patients – as the U.S. healthcare system struggles to reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions?

Lee Barrett:

There are many strategies to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions, including the evaluation of readmission trends and developing appropriate remediation plans, the real-time capture of data so hospitals can avoid penalties, and the analysis of payer policies and how they may contribute to readmission rates. However for many healthcare providers, the challenge remains squarely on the clinical basics and the automation of post-discharge care and follow-up:

  • Teach patients and caregivers how to manage each patient’s specific condition, i.e., heart failure etc.;
  • Assess what kind of support they may need (assistance with transportation, meals delivered to the home, home health care) when they go back into the community and assist with making those connections;
  • Follow-up after patients leave the hospital, either by phone or in person, and deal with any concerns that they may have;
  • Assure that patients are seen by the PCP within a week of discharge and forward an account of what happened in the hospital to those physicians;
  • Let patients know who is responsible for coordinating their care and what to do if that provider is not available; and
  • Provide a patient portal where instructions and other key information is available for reference after the patient is discharged.

Subscribe to Readmissions News to view the full January issue.