Survey: Post-discharge calls help reduce readmits

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Post-discharge calls to patients help reduce 30-day readmissions and improve patient satisfaction, according to a recent study conducted by patient experience services company Beryl.

The study included data from four hospitals using Beryl's post-discharge services to provide follow-up calls and monitor results.

The callers asked the patients a set of scripted questions, including asking if the patient understood medical instructions that were provided before leaving the hospital, if recommended follow-up appointments had been scheduled and if they were satisfied with the care received while at the hospital.

In addition to the response to scripted questions, calls included unprompted feedback from patients related to issues not directly tied to care delivery, such as housekeeping, room temperature and friendliness of the staff.

Findings indicated that 30-day patient readmission rates can be markedly lower for patients receiving follow-up calls after discharge, the Dallas-based Beryl stated. “In one instance, a participating hospital's readmission rates for patients who received a post-discharge call were 1.3 percent, compared with 3.19 percent for patients who did not receive a call,” the report stated.

Data also showed improvements in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores when patients received follow-up calls. In one hospital, HCAHPS scores for their "Overall Rating" increased by 12 percentage points, up from 75.9 percent to 87.9 percent, the report added.