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CARES™ Connect: Elements of an Effective Discharge Solution

August 3, 2021

There’s no getting around it: the transition home following hospitalization can be frantic, and a poor discharge experience can sour otherwise excellent patient care, or worse, result in hospital readmission. That’s why PRC launched CARES™ Connect alongside the Healthcare Experience Foundation, a discharge communication solution built to empower hospital leaders by creating a real-time feedback loop for safer patient outcomes. Post-discharge communication is relatively commonplace in healthcare—in fact, it’s utilized by the majority of CMS 5-star top performing hospitals—so that begs the question, what makes CARES™ Connect stand out from other discharge solutions?

Expressing Empathy

Many organizations who conduct post-discharge calls do so using interactive voice response (IVR) technology. While such technology and automation may relieve hospital staff to focus on other efforts, the idea of speaking to a computer to confirm safe discharge and transition ends the patient experience on a cold, artificial note, contradicting the very concept of meaningful discharge communication. Moreover, despite improvements over time, IVR technology is not foolproof. There will inevitably be discharged patients with questions beyond the reach of the pre-programmed IVR replies, and in those cases, the discharge communication will fall flat.

For our CARES™ Connect phone outreach, we utilize an entire human interviewing team that we train to practice empathy and understanding when speaking to discharged patients. Our interviewing staff is also CARES™-certified, an acronym through Healthcare Experience Foundation that guides interviewers through the following essential components of speaking with patients:

Acronym for CARES Certification

  • Confidence
    • Projecting confidence to reinforce excellence, provide reassurance, and ensure patients feel comfortable to ask questions and participate in their care
  • Anticipate Needs
    • Demonstrating empathy by asking about patients’ needs and addressing their emotional, clinical, and safety well-being
  • Respectful Communication
    • Recognizing the importance of tone and inflection and reinforcing a model of respect by asking questions, listening with presence, and always demonstrating compassion
  • Engage in Care and Process
    • Knowing how to narrate processes and explain the “why” to patients, all while actively accommodating to patients’ health literacy
  • Say Thank You | Safe Transition
    • Expressing gratitude to patients for their time and/or leading them in the direction of further care, staying mindful of the importance of final impressions

One-Stop Risk Reporting

In addition to the manual communication of CARES™ Connect, PRC adds an extra layer to your discharge management with our accompanying risk reporting platform, PRC AlertView. Similar to our PRC EasyView® suite of reporting and analytic tools, PRC AlertView works in real-time to notify hospital leadership of patient outcomes from CARES™ Connect communications that could result in readmission (I.e., medication issues, recovery concerns, etc.). Having a one-stop platform to review outcomes that could require further support empowers your medical team to easily triage post-discharge risks and ensure the safety of your patients following their transition home.

Overall, CARES™ Connect goes beyond other discharge solutions to foster real connections with patients and build an all-in-one feedback loop when coupled with PRC AlertView to facilitate safer patient outcomes. For patients, a call from a CARES™ Connect interviewer means the hospital is contacting you with a genuine concern for your well-being, even after the hospital experience has concluded. The benefit is mutual, with the experience of such personal concern and care often translating to higher patient experience survey performance and greater organizational loyalty.

Interested? Visit our CARES™ Connect page to learn more and request a demo, and for a deeper dive into CARES™ Connect, view an OnDemand recording of our webinar, “Safer Transitions: Closing discharge gaps with CARES™ Connect.”