Hospitals today are facing more competition than ever before, especially private organizations that need to remain directly profitable. Patient satisfaction and long-term outcomes are becoming big determinants of a hospitals success, especially now that HCAHPS surveys are becoming so critical for securing funding.
Hospitals have been looking towards high-tech solutions to improving patient outcomes and satisfaction, but in truth, a wholly low-tech solution can provide all those benefits at lower costs.
Simple discharge folders, packed with information the patient needs to have a successful recovery, can provide across-the-board benefits to hospitals at a remarkably low per-patient expenditure.
1 - Lower Needless Re-admissions
There is probably no area of greater waste in the hospital system than the entire problem of unplanned re-admissions. According to just one study, avoidable re-admissions cost more than forty billion dollars to the US healthcareindustry in just one year.
Likewise, studies into the matter have suggested one very clear and straightforward way to avoid re-admissions: better post-care information.
Properly-made discharge folders are one of the best possible options for improving post-care information. They can organize everything your patient needs to know about their post-care, in a sturdy package that can stand up to months or years of use.
When every possible topic can be grouped by type, or even milestones on a timeline, it makes it much easier for a patient to adhere to their post-care plan. Fewer documents are lost, and their questions are all answered within the folder. Itll also reduce your expenditures on phone support.
2 - Better Patient Outcomes
Beyond the money angle, theres no doubt that re-admissions and other post-care problems can be hugely detrimental -or even fatal- to recovering patients.
Implementing discharge folders for all patients encourages the staff to really focus on each individual ensuring they have all the information needed for a successful recovery. A doctor or nurse would be actively checking to ensure all needed paperwork is in the folder, as well as being able to go over it with the patient directly, when possible.
After all, the point of discharge is one of the worst possible times to be trying to convey information to a patient. Theyre impatient to get home in the best of times, and often theyll still be somewhat addled from medications in their system. They wont remember most verbal instructions.
However, a well-planned discharge folder makes a great educational tool. The materials inside give discharge officials visual references -so the instructions arent solely verbal- as well as further encouraging them to double-check the contents to ensure their accuracy.
Discharge folders introducenew steps in the process that specifically ensure a patient has all the information they need to know.
3 - Higher HCAHPS Scores
We dont need to tell you how important HCAHPS scores are becoming to hospital funding, especially with re-admission penalties going up in 2015. A hospital that cannot get its re-admissions under controland produce patients who are trulyhappywith their post-care is one thats going to be challenged to remain profitable.
On top of that, HCAHPS scores are becoming more widely-publicized, and are centerpieces of websites used to compare hospitals. When customers are shopping for healthcare in the same way they would a car, lower HCAHPS scores can even deter new patients from walking in the door.
The good news is, discharge folders also help improve HCAHPS scores. They can directly boost a patients confidence in their discharge, and create a feeling of empowerment in the patient. If the person in recovery feels theyve received enough information to participate well in their recuperation, they tend to be much more positive on HCAHPS followup surveys.
Compared to how much damage can be done through poor HCAHPS scores, spending a few extra dollars per patienton discharge folders is an investment that easily reaps huge long-term benefits.
Is Your Post-Care Truly Patient-Focused?
A strong patient focus is a real necessity today, if a hospital is going to thrive and continuing offering quality medical services. The opinions of individual patients have far more effect on a providers long-term success than in the past, and now have a huge effect on both funding and outreach.
A small investment in sturdy discharge folders can directly result in big cost savings at your hospital, as well as consistently improved patient surveys. They are a simple and inexpensive way to improve patient care and long term patient outcomes.
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