Recently, discharge planning has been receiving increasing attention from healthcare providers in response to two fairly new Medicare payment guidelines namely, readmission penalties and value-based reimbursement. Under Medicare’s value-based reimbursement, it is imperative that healthcare organizations increase patient engagement by ensuring patients are properly managing health conditions and in turn reducing readmission rates to satisfy Medicare guidelines. One key component of value-based reimbursement is successful discharge planning which has become increasingly reliant on IT to promote patient engagement.
One way in which IT has been successfully integrated with discharge planning is with Interactive Patient Systems (IPS). Because patients and their families are often only able to retain a limited amount of the information they receive during transition planning, IPS can be used by healthcare providers to make this information readily available well after a patient is discharged, and, in turn, lower the cost curve. For instance, IPS solutions educate patients about post-surgical recovery and dozens of chronic conditions, such as chronic heart failure and asthma, by watching assigned videos prescribed by caregivers.
Beyond increased overall connectivity, what does IPS specifically offer to improve engagement?
IPS can be used as a platform for healthcare providers to distribute surveys and checklists and subsequently monitor patient engagement in their own care and recovery. One tool that has been developed for this specific purpose is the Person Engagement Index. The index is comprised of 18-survey questions that can be analyzed and used to assess patients based on four specific categories including: level of psychological support, technological savvy, ability to be engaged, and finally, level of proactiveness. By coupling information gathered through the Person Engagement Index with existing recovery plans, healthcare providers are better equipped to create highly customizable discharge plans that foster patient engagement and encourage them to follow their health plan.
Smartphones applications can also be linked to IPS platforms to maintain connectivity with patients long after they have returned home. IPS apps can be used to relay information on medication, care tips and even send reminders via the app. For providers, apps also allow a way for them to monitor patient progress in between appointments and evaluate if intervention is necessary. These systems can also be integrated with telemedicine to provide virtual check-ins for patients with low mobility.
IPS and smartphone applications offer a highly customized channel for healthcare providers to connect with patients both during and after they are discharged from the hospital. Through increased connectivity, patients are better equipped to self-manage conditions that might otherwise lead to readmission. Through lower readmission rates and improved/customized discharge plans, patients and providers are set up for success under Medicare’s value-based care. For related articles on what’s trending in healthcare, follow us on LinkedIn.
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