Healthcare readmissions aren’t just a hospital administration or physician problem. When it comes to the financial stability and quality of life for all individuals once released from care, the current high rate of almost 40% readmissions within 6 months1 of discharge has become a bit of a healthcare crisis.
Even when the best intentions are at hand when talking with patients, educational opportunities can fall short. Often, doctors and nurses don’t fully recognize or know how to deal with the low document and quantitative literacy of a significant number of their patients.
According to a study published in the Journal of Health Communication2, since “Low health literacy is associated with higher mortality, higher rates of hospitalization, and poor self-management skills for chronic disease, early and unplanned hospital reutilization after discharge is a common and costly occurrence in U.S. hospitals.”
In addition, “Patients with low health literacy also are more likely to report unsatisfactory patient-doctor communication at the time of discharge, suggesting that some physicians may be insensitive or unaware when their patients are having difficulties comprehending discharge instructions.”
This study shows just how important it is for every patient to be properly educated on their level and in a way that they can fully comprehend. Doing so not only results in higher satisfaction rates for physicians and hospitals, but gives patients the knowledge, tools, and confidence they need in order to keep themselves healthy once they arrive back at home.
Fortunately, new patient engagement technology can help to identify the interest and comprehension levels of patients, then adjust the educational tools accordingly. By better understanding the needs of each patient and teaching them in an individually fulfilling way, these tools can ultimately, and significantly, improve a patient’s overall outcome after discharge.
Creating a culture of care by ensuring your hospital’s education efforts truly reach those who need it most, will pay off with not only fewer readmissions, but a healthier and happier public as well—the true mission and desire of every healthcare professional.
It’s time to learn more about how SONIFI Health’s patient engagement solutions can improve patient health literacy and reduce hospital readmissions.
1. Mudge, A., Kasper, K., Clair, A., Redfern, H., Bell, J., Barras, M., Pachana, N. (2011). Recurrent readmissions in medical patients: A prospective study. Journal of Hospital Medicine, 61-67. Retreived from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jhm.811/full
2. Mitchell, S. E. (2012). Health Literacy and 30-Day Postdischarge Hospital Utilization. Journal of Health Communication,17(3). Retrieved December 29, 2017, from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10810730.2012.715233?scroll=top&needAccess=true&