Post-discharge calls to patients help to reduce 30-day readmissions and improve patient satisfaction, according to a one-year study conducted by patient experience services company Beryl.
In one of the hospitals participating in the study, the readmission rates for patients who received a post-discharge call were 1.3%, compared with 3.19% for patients who did not receive a call.
In the second hospital, 30-day readmission rates were 4.19% for patients who received a post-discharge call, compared to 5.16% for patients who did not receive a call.
Data from the study also showed that post-discharge calls improved the industry-standard Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems scores, a leading indicator of patient satisfaction.
In the study, patient post-discharge calls were placed 24 to 72 hours after patients were discharged from the hospital.
The callers asked the patients a set of scripted questions, including inquiring if medical instructions were provided before leaving hospital, if recommended follow-up appointments had been scheduled and if they were satisfied with the care received at the hospital.
Beryl clinical director Cynthia Hanna said that Medicare penalties begin in 2013 for hospitals with high patient readmission rates, so the impact of placing follow-up patient calls will certainly have financial implications for hospitals.