Reducing hospital readmissions for Medicare patients post-discharge doesn’t necessarily have to involve the latest tech gadgetry or even visits from a home health aide, a recent study suggests.
Researchers from University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio found that an hour-long coaching session and three follow-up phone calls helped reduce hospital readmissions among Medicare patients by 39%, according to a report published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The Care Transitions Intervention (CTI), a patient-centered coaching approach, empowers individuals to better manage their health. The program begins when a patient is in the hospital and continues for 30 days following discharge, including one home visit and one to two phone calls.
Studying fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized from January 2009 through May 2011 in six Rhode Island hospitals, researchers examined the post-discharge total utilization and costs for patients who received coaching from CTI, as well as those who declined to use the program.
Healthcare entities that employed CTI had significantly lower utilization in the six months following discharge from the hospital and lower mean total health care costs related to readmissions than those who did not—$14,729 versus $18,799.
“This analysis demonstrates that the CT generates meaningful cost avoidance for at least six months post-hospitalization, and also provides useful metrics to evaluate the impact and cost avoidance of hospital readmission reduction programs,” they study concludes.
View an abstract of the report.
Written by Jason Oliva