Targeting health IT to reduce readmissions

As reimbursement is now tied to quality metrics including readmission, hospitals and health systems are placing a concentrated effort on ensuring patients go home and stay home. Innovative technologies are largely helping this effort and reducing readmission while increasing patient satisfaction and overall health.

A report from MD Buyline, a healthcare supply chain management solution provider, suggests target technologies in medication management, mHealth and infection prevention are the three most common areas to combat readmissions.

Medication management
While medication adherence tools such as portal and device-based reminders are becoming increasingly common, such prompts can be ignored by patients, according to the report, which suggest providers consider "more advanced technologies" including smart pillboxes, video monitoring and breath analysis.

Smart pillboxes store and dispense medication at a predetermined time, and then they record and notify a clinician when the medication has been dispensed. Breath analyses sample a patient's breath for traces of a drug to determine whether the patient took the medication as prescribed.

Following up with patients at home can be a vital key to reducing readmissions because clinicians are ensuring patients are properly following discharge directions. An mHealth system could track if the patient is adhering to medication instructions and following nutrition guidelines, and track overall health and wellness.

Infection prevention
The report suggests room disinfection technologies will be effective in reducing healthcare-associated infections and monetary penalties associated with those quality metrics. Ultraviolet technology has been a focus for hospitals in the realm of disinfection, according to the report, as the systems are generally entirely automated and can sterilize surfaces in 30 minutes. The report suggests the initial capital cost of such disinfection technologies far outweigh the financial penalties a hospital could face for high HAI rates.

The report suggests all three of these technologies require some upfront capital, but due to their success in preventing readmissions and improving quality, the savings go directly to the hospital's bottom line.

More articles on readmission:

Which cities have highest hospital readmission rates?
3 ways to leverage analytics to reduce heart failure readmission rates
Patient safety tool: AHRQ's reducing Medicaid readmissions guide

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