By Vicky A. Mahn-DiNicola
The U.S. hospital system is suffering from the revolving door syndrome that costs billions every year. While some return trips to the hospital are predictable and inevitable due to the nature of the treatment plan, many unplanned readmissions can be prevented by arming caregivers with the right data.
Unplanned readmissions – cases in which unexpected complications or problems cause patients to return to the hospital within 30 days of being released – are common, expensive and often preventable. Yet, reportedly one in five elderly patients is back in the hospital within 30 days of leaving, and the estimated cost of unnecessary readmissions for Medicare patients alone is estimated at $17 billion annually.
Identifying at-risk patients and processes to effectively manage their care is essential to minimizing escalating costs of readmissions. Midas+, A Xerox Company, simplifies this task through our suite of workflow and analytics software that collects and mines data from more than 1,900 hospitals. Our tools analyze data on all points of care: From the medical history patients provide on admission; the medication and services they receive during their stay; to hospital billing and financial performance. All this data provides meaningful information that helps caregivers reduce readmissions. Here are three ways Midas+ helps:
- Automation of discharge services. While nurses and doctors start planning discharge as soon as patients arrive, decisions about the care patients will need are often known closer to the day they are released. Midas+ workflow tools help discharge staff quickly coordinate care by automatically matching patient needs to available services, such as home care, medical equipment and placement in a rehab facility or nursing home. Automation not only minimizes paper work and phone calls but ensures caregivers get an overview of all services to transition the patient to the next level of care following hospitalization.
- Compilation of comparative statistics. Hospitals benefit from knowing whether proactive discharge planning, patient screening and coordination of services are actually lowering readmission rates and how they are performing on a national level. Midas+ software computes data that enables hospitals to continually monitor and assess how their organization fares in comparison to their peers, learn from these events and refocus intervention strategies to meet patients’ needs better. In this way, everyone from the boardroom to the bedside is engaged in doing the right thing at the right time for the right patients.
- Clinical performance measurement. Our data analytics enable hospitals to quickly see which patients have returned to the hospital and why. Knowing what is contributing to readmissions helps hospitals identify areas of improvement in their workflows. For example, frequent emergency room visits by a set of patients discharged with a particular condition, such as heart failure or open heart surgery, can reveal reasons for their readmission and help hospitals establish better discharge planning to prevent return trips — perhaps in the form of increased home visits from nurses, or more education and coaching for patients and their families.
Furthermore, the next generation of Midas+ software, the Juvo Care Performance Platform, will include advanced analytics that analyze real-time information such as lab results, medications and vital signs to predict and alert clinicians of which patients are likely to return to the hospital. These predictive analytics will help transform care by enabling clinicians to manage risk for their patients before unnecessary readmissions happen.
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