Optimize Patient Flow for Fewer Readmissions

Michele Warg
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Reducing hospital readmissions is a growing concern in the health care industry. A hospital or clinic that fails to reduce high readmission rates can face fines and even malpractice suits. Fortunately, health care centers can plan resources, optimize patient flow and increase education to decrease readmissions.

Allow Sufficient Hospital Stays

Making sure that patients are not discharged early is essential to reducing hospital readmissions. Releasing patients who have not fully recovered from surgery or treatment can have serious or even life threatening consequences. Make sure that all medical practitioners fully understand appropriate recovery time for illnesses and procedures. Then follow up to ensure patients are improving as expected to avoid discharging those who are subject to relapse.

Maintain Adequate Staff and Resources

When a health care provider lacks the medical professionals and resources needed for smooth operations, patient flow suffers and hospital readmissions increase. Without enough rooms for clients, some patients who are not physically or mentally ready for release will be discharged. Every facility must have adequate space to accommodate its flow of patients so that individuals who need more time to receive the treatment they need to accelerate healing can do so. Not only do providers need to maintain a staffing level necessary to provide services for the clients they receive, they also need to ensure personnel have up-to-date training to offer high-quality medical service.

Increase Patient Education

Another way to reduce hospital readmissions is to increase the quality of patient education. All patients released from the hospital must understand the potential symptoms of their condition as well as the steps they need to take during the healing process. Providing patients with self-care leaflets, easy-to-follow guides or even educational videos can help answer their most critical questions and prevent issues that force them to seek additional care.

Improve Sanitation Processes

Many patients return to the hospital after contracting an infection while awaiting or receiving treatment. Improving sanitation processes in the clinical environment reduces contamination and the resulting illnesses. A clean medical environment can accelerate healing and protect patients when they are at their most vulnerable. The hospital leadership must enforce proper sanitation practices among members of the staff at every level to avoid the transmission of harmful bacteria and germs. Also, patients who have contagious illnesses should wear masks and be transferred quickly to a safe zone.

Follow up With Patients

To minimize hospital readmissions, it is crucial for medical practitioners to follow-up with patients after they leave the facility. When a patient receive guidance from a medical professional during post-recovery, they are more likely to get answers to their questions without needing to schedule another visit. Establishing a routine process for following up with each patient can reduce hospital readmissions significantly. Doing so can minimize the number and length of future visits and address small health problems before they grow into major concerns.

Caring for patients properly the first time around is key to limiting hospital readmissions. Thousands of clinics throughout the nation have been forced to pay significant fines this year alone. A proactive medical center that takes resource planning, patient flow and education carefully into account can avoid these consequences and minimize readmissions.


Photo courtesy of dream designs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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