After all, that's what preventable re-admissions cost, according to studies on the matter. The average cost per re-admission is around $40,000. Even for smaller operations, it's still in the five figures. For that matter, in 2011, unplanned re-admissions cost the US healthcare industry more than $40 Billion dollars as a whole.
High re-admission rates would even be more costly than that, if they factored in more elements than the direct costs. Federal penalties for substandard 30-day re-admission rates are going up nearly 3% in 2015. Poor re-admission rates also drag down HCAHPS scores by creating dissatisfied patients. These can further reduce Federal compensation, as well as giving online healthcare-shoppers reasons not to visit your hospital.
The good news is that experts agree on one of the simplest ways to prevent unplanned readmission: better patient education. A custom discharge folder is one of the best ways to achieve better patient education, and ensure your patients stay on their road to recovery, however long it may be.
Discharge Folders Save Money And Create Better Patient Outcomes
1 - Keep your staff focused.
It's easy for things to slip through the cracks during the discharge process, but a well-implemented plan using discharge folders help ensure every patient is given all the attention they need. Staff members preparing the folder are given an opportunity to double-check every piece of information going into it, ensuring proper information is given to the outgoing patient.
One of the most common HCAHPS complaints is that patients weren't given enough or correct information at discharge. A well-planned folder ensures this doesn't happen.
2 - A discharge folder makes a great teaching tool.
Oral instructions and a handful of papers aren't enough to constitute a successful discharge process for multiple reasons. The patient is almost certainly stressed and anxious to get home, so they're not paying the best attention. In many cases, they may still be coming down from their medications and simply not in a mindset thats conducive to learning. Depending on their specific condition the patient my be incapable of understanding complicated instructions, and the plan must be provided to a family member of home aide.
Discharge folders give caregivers an opportunity to explain the recovery process with clear visual aids throughout. They can refer directly to the materials in the folder, and help ensure the patient is always on the same page as them.
3 - There's room for everything they need.
Custom accordion folders work so well for discharge folders because theres so much space in the interior. This isn't a simple manila envelope. The interior expands to hold anything a patient might need to know, from drug interactions to dietary information to long-term plans.
The interior can be divided up in nearly any possible way with inserts, as well as having numerous interior pockets that can be filled. Its also possible to add a disc tray to hold presentations on CD, DVD, or BluRay or even a prescription sleeve. Theres no reason for them to lack any information.
4 - Keep everything logically organized.
Since you can use tabs, dividers, and pockets to arrange the interior of the folder, this makes it far harder for a patient to lose materials. The folder is their go-to source for any information, especially when the tabs are clearly labeled with DIET and PHYSICAL ACTIVITY and such.
Another possible approach for patients on a long-term care plan is to arrange the folder according to time, rather than subject. Break the interior up into months or seasons, so that the patient can progress through the folder alongside their recovery.
That means not having to rely on them remembering instructions six months later. When the time comes, the SIX MONTH tab is waiting for them with everything they need.
5 - Reduce calls or informational visits.
When the folder is well-packed with information the patient needs, that's going to reduce their calls to your hospital, freeing up your staff to deal with more important matters. So the benefits are ongoing. Whenever the patient finds the information they need within the discharge folder, you save time and money.
The folders interior and exterior printing can also be customized with information. A back or side panel can easily become a Frequently Asked Questions list, or give contact numbers for common referral clinics you use.
The more information is in the discharge folder, the less you spend answering questions later.
More Information Creates Happier Patients
That's what it boils down to. Give your patients the information they need in a folder they can hold onto, and you'll be creating more successful outcomes... with better HCAHPS scores afterwards.
Get our Free Guide to Discharge Folders
And if you're ready to try out our discharge folders for yourself...