Last week I wrote about a powerful tool available to you to reduce hospital readmissions and save millions of dollars. The tool is telemedicine. This week I am diving deeper into this topic and explaining how telemedicine will help you reduce readmissions. I am assuming you know what telemedicine is, so I will not go into that on this blog.
When an inpatient is discharged, they are given post discharge instructions. How is your hospital following up with your patients to ensure they are complying with their instructions? A phone call is good if that is what you’re using. Calling the patient or their caregiver to inquire about their condition, if they have any questions regarding their post discharge instructions, did they receive their medication, are they taking their medication as instructed, etc. might not tell you all the information you need to be satisfied that they will not be readmitted.
Telemedicine, on the other hand connects you visually to the patient. Remember the old adage “a picture tells a thousand words”? Well, that applies here. You will glean a lot of information by visually seeing your patient in their own surroundings. Are they agitated? Is their environment chaotic? You can have them show you their medications and explain to you what they are taking and when. If they have to use any durable medical equipment, you can ask them if they are comfortable with it or if they are having issues. If they are having issues, you can ask them to show you what they are struggling with. Worse case scenario is you need to send a case worker to the patient to help them. Sure that will cost you – but it will cost you a lot less than having that patient readmitted.
This visual consultation with your patient is a powerful way to discern whether your patient is adhering or not. The consultation can be done by an MD, RN, PA, or an NP. In some cases, it might be a reimbursable visit. Even if it is not reimbursable, so what? You’ve spent $100 to ensure that patient will not be readmitted. Worth it? You bet.
With Fore-ward Healthcare Solutions, you do not need any special equipment. All you and your patient need to conduct the telemedicine visit is an iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, laptop, or desktop computer. We are cloud based so there is no software to download or purchase. We are also HIPAA compliant. If you need to remotely monitor your patient, you can do that as well with our Bluetooth enabled devices that send the readings straight to you.
Contact us for more information.