Using Telemedicine Visits To Reduce Hospital Readmissions

hospital surgery
Author: Greg Deranian

There is more incentive than ever now to reduce hospital readmissions. That’s because the federal government is trying to reign in mounting medical costs. Healthcare is a commodity that has risen steadily over the years−and that trajectory is expected to remain consistent going forward.

Consider the fact that hospitalization alone accounts for around one-third of overall healthcare spending! A hospital readmission occurs when a patient requires in-patient care due to complications or re-emergence of health issues related to the original hospital stay. Although it is some cases unavoidable, other times readmissions are often preventable through a proactive approach.

The philosophy is that the patient outcomes are more favorable when they do not require readmission, which also reduces healthcare costs. To that end, hospitals, health systems and insurers share a common end goal of reducing readmission rates and by extension improving outcomes for patients after hospitalization.

Transitions Are The Key to Reduce Hospital Readmissions

But what does that look like? Many industry experts agree that clinicians should shift their collective energies to focus on transitions from hospital-to-residential and hospital-to-sub-acute facilities. In general, they agree that a successful plan includes:

  • assistance with medication management;
  • timely follow up with a patient’s own primary and specialty doctors;
  • electronic medical records; and
  • patient education

Time is of the essence in the case of patient transition. Early intervention is crucial, which means contact with the patient should be made within days or even hours after discharge. A key piece to achieving these best practices is the use of of telemedicine, which is simply a means of delivering healthcare via technology. With the mass adoption of mobile devices and improving broadband capacities, telemedicine technology is making it possible to deliver healthcare services from nearly anywhere.

The Role of Telemedicine to Reduce Hospital Readmissions

A strong multi-dimensional program leverages telemedicine technology to allow healthcare transition staff to further the level of patient education beyond simply written instructions or phone calls. Such technologies include the use of tablets that allow on-demand, on-button patient staff audio and video communications.For example, high definition video allows for virtual assessments of recovery indicators such as wound healing.

In short, the use of telemedicine solutions is helping to improve effective assessment, intervention, and care coordination. This leads to positive health outcomes for patients and results in maximum revenue and return on investment for plans, hospitals and care management companies. Put simply, everyone wins.

About the Author

3338b2eGreg Deranian is the Senior Director of Marketing & Business Development at Focus Care, Inc — a national organization with years of demonstrated effectiveness partnering with payers, ACOs and hospitals to manage complex member cases. It has helped organizations to reduce expensive nurse travel of their Medicare and Medicaid recipients by over 50 percent through innovative tools, such as providing nurse care with their virtual visit technology. It also has a mechanism to resolve problems without unnecessary 911 calls and ER visits. Focus Care increases the bottom line for payers through client engagement, better care, and reduced costs from fewer ER visits, hospitalizations and skilled facilities. Visit or contact Greg Deranian at 781-376-6938 or