Friday, November 30, 2012

Industry Experts Explain 3 Methods to Reduce Hospital Readmission (Part 2)

Last week, we began investigating various flaws that leading health experts have found in the recent CMS rules punishing hospitals with high readmission rates. So far, we’ve covered an oversight by CMS that is ignoring the possibility of readmission caused by the patient’s social environment. We’ve also looked at mistakes hospitals could be making by releasing surgery patients too quickly.

Today, we’re examining a suggestion brought to us by FierceHealthcare editor Karen Cheung-Larivee. As usual in these cases, the answer to patient readmission may lie in technology.

A pilot program at Central Indiana Beacon Community that focuses on remote video conferencing between nurses and discharged hospital patients cut readmissions by a dramatic 75 percent, according to Alan Snell (pictured), chief medical informatics officer at Indianapolis-based St. Vincent Health and panel speaker at the upcoming FierceMobileHealthcare breakfast roundtable on Dec. 4 at the mHealth Summit. Seven St. Vincent's hospitals and seven partner hospitals participated in the program with 300 patients who were being discharged with diagnoses of congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

"We went after patients that were in capitated populations our self-insured, employed population for the hospital and their dependents so that we could establish baselines on their cost of care before and during the monitoring," he said. "We're finding some pretty dramatic drops in that cost of care."

From the outside, it seems like this video technology is an affordable solution for an expensive problem. However, many health experts and hospital executives disagree.

Where do you stand on the issue? Leave a comment on this blog with your suggestions, and we’ll be responding in the future with some of your best ideas, criticisms, and questions!


Pam Argeris is a thought leader in the Healthcare Industry and possesses extensive, hands-on experience with CMS compliance, and multiple regulatory bodies such as NCQA, JACHO, and DOI. In her role at Merrill Corp., Pam focuses on developing solutions for compliance and quality assurance, delivered in a cost effective manner to improve beneficiary and prospect communications. You can contact Pam at

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