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CARES™ Connect: Rethinking How Your Hospital Approaches Readmissions

December 6, 2023

As hospitals across the country strive to balance efficiency with ensuring excellent patient experience, one of the obstacles requiring attention is patient readmissions. Improving readmissions is vital for health systems because it signifies a commitment to high-quality care, positively impacts patient experience, leads to cost savings, aligns with regulatory requirements, supports population and health equity goals, and enhances the hospital’s overall reputation and competitive position. PRC’s CARES™ Connect solution is specifically designed to support healthcare teams with safer transitions home for patients and extending the walls of your organization in a compassionate manner to reinforce trust.

What Do the Data Say?

Patient readmissions are a grim reality when viewing their prevalence and impact on hospitals and health systems. Some of the latest national data findings include:

  • Average 30-day readmission rates trend at 15%, increasing to 20% among patients aged 65+
  • 75% of hospitals face readmission penalties in FY2023
  • Average cost of readmission amounts to $15,200 per patient, totaling to $17 billion in preventable readmission costs

In practice, the transition home can be a disorienting time for your patients. While a patient may leave with discharge and medication instructions, they may not retain critical information to safely transition home, resulting in only 52% of patients rating the quality of their care transitions at a top box in an HCAHPS survey. If the hospital experience ends there, patients are left with instructions they may not fully comprehend and without an easy way to alert the hospital of complications that may come up following discharge. When considering situations like that, the reality of readmissions becomes clear.

In addition to their financial burden for hospitals, readmissions require care teams who are already stretched thin to accommodate their workload and manage escalated care situations. In PRC’s National Nursing Resiliency Study, we found 37.2% of nurses describe the staffing in their department for handling workload as “fair” or “poor.” These numbers indicate nurses needing to cover extra shifts, jump across departments, and take on additional tasks to keep up in a high-stress and, in many cases, understaffed environment. Speaking to these factors at our 2023 Healthcare Experience Summit, Healthcare Experience Foundation executive coach, Deborah Zastocki, DNP, remarked that “all of these things can lead to a sense of discomfort; discomfort can result in stress, disengagement, and certainly burnout.”

How Can PRC Help?

PRC created our CARES™ Connect solution to transform the way our client partners handle post-discharge follow-up. Our dedicated, in-house call center agents reach out to your patients following a hospital stay to confirm their safe transition home, answer questions about their discharge instructions, and identify any safety risks that could result in readmission through our PRC AlertView platform.

Some organizations may turn to IVR technology for their discharge calls, while others rely on their nurses and hospital staff to manage internally. With CARES™ Connect, we alleviate your care team’s workload and ensure human interaction in your outreach that displays genuine investment in your patient’s well-being following discharge. These calls give your organization a chance to shape patient perceptions beyond the four walls of your facility and end their healthcare experience on a high note leading up to patient experience surveys. Further, the real-time safety reporting loop created through CARES™ Connect and PRC AlertView triages safety risks for your care teams, ensuring they have time and resources to focus on treating patients who need further attention. Indeed, CARES™ Connect promises patients a safety-conscious and empathetic transition home, while relieving staff workloads in a time it’s needed the most, and data from our CARES™ Connect clients speak for itself:

  • 21% reduction in readmission penalties
  • 46% increase in VBP gains
  • 4–7% increase in top box HCAHPS performance
  • Less than 3% of CARES™ Connect calls require escalation back to clinical staff

Contact us at [email protected] to discuss the multifaceted impact CARES™ Connect can provide for your organization.

Sources and Further Reading:
CARES™ Connect Product Page

Webinar: Reducing Readmissions with CARES™ Connect