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Originally Published in VoiceFriend Newsletter, April 2016
 

Skilled Nursing Communities face a similar challenge to hospitals - readmissions can be costly. While no penalties are currently assessed to skilled nursing communities, providers have a two-fold incentive to ensure discharged patients are not readmitted to a hospital:

  1. Discharged patients who remain healthy are more likely to have a positive opinion about the care they received while in rehabilitation and thus more likely to recommend your services to others.
  2. Rehabilitation service providers who are able to show a lower readmission rate to hospitals are more likely to gain additional referrals from the hospitals.

In my discussions with executives from skilled nursing and rehabilitation providers, I have found these leaders to be concerned about readmissions, but challenged about what can be done at the community level. They lament the costs and resources required to perform follow up calls and staff visits to discharged patients.

There is an alternative that many innovative healthcare providers are choosing. Automated telephone, text and email reminders that encourage their discharged patients to follow their care plans are gaining traction as a low cost alternative to calls and visits by nurses. These automated communications increase patient engagement and can improve conformance to care plans.

On providers, I have found these leaders to be concerned about readmissions, but challenged about what can be done at the community level. They lament the costs and resources required to perform follow up calls and staff visits to discharged patients.

At VoiceFriend, we endorse this approach and can help develop program specific or individual communications for discharged patients. Additionally, VoiceFriend offers effective, low cost solutions, such as:

  1. An On Demand Service which enables patients to call in at any time to hear their care plans.
  2. The VoiceFriend Companion device which can be placed at the home of a discharged patient and speaks care plan reminders at the push of a button.

Reducing hospital readmissions is a critically important opportunity for eldercare providers to increase their importance to their hospital partners and improve outcomes. Automated care plan reminders are a powerful tool to reduce readmissions and improve patient satisfaction.


Bruce Baron is CEO of VoiceFriend. VoiceFriend is the leader in providing messaging services for eldercare providers. For more information on solutions to reduce OT expenses, make staff more productive and increase compliance to care plans, please contact VoiceFriend at 781-996-3123 or email us at sales@voicefriend.net.

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Staff Productivity and Cost Containment