17 billion dollars, that's the cost of avoidable readmissions to the hospital as documented by the Dartmouth Institute. Billion with a B, some serious cash and doesn't include the emotional and physical cost to each individual patient that returns to the hospital often within 30 days of being released.
Why are readmission rates are so high and what can be done to reduce them? Are there any simple, inexpensive steps that might help reduce this huge problem? Research has determined that many of the reasons are the result of poor communication, and poorly organized discharge instructions including the following.
Patients may not completely understand what is wrong with them.
Patients may be confused about what medicines they should take and when they should take them, and they may not take the right medication at the right time.
Hospital staff may not communicate important information to patients’ primary care providers.
Hospital staff may not inform patients or their primary care providers of test results that could affect their care.
Family members may not know how to help provide care at home.
When you look closely much of this comes down to lack of communication and information between the hospital, the patient, the patient's family, and the patients primary doctor; could something as simple and inexpensive as an accordion folder have an impact and help bring down health care costs?
Sometimes the best ideas are the really simple ones. The Dartmouth Institute study concluded that one of the simplest but effective solutions for reducing hospital readmissions is to create a detailed written discharge plan that includes all the important information a patient will need upon discharge. The accordion folder discharge kit takes it one step further by recognizing that discharge information comes from multiple sources such as doctors, nurses and nutritionists, to outside healthcare providers. The accordion folder discharge kit provides a 12 pocket, durable and portable kit that can house the entire discharge plan in an organized secure and easy to use fashion that makes it much easier to understand.
Clearly an accordion folder discharge kit that costs just a few dollars won't solve a 17 billion dollar problem but as they say "every little bit helps" and if the discharge kit can help just one patient avoid readmission isn't that worth it to both the patient and the hospital?