The day the Affordable Care Act was signed, the healthcare industry changed forever. For hospitals, one of the biggest components of this bill was the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). The goal of HRRP was to encourage patient engagement and mandate hospitals to follow up more closely with patients after discharge.
In the years since the inception of HRRP, readmission rates have in fact declined at hospitals, but the vast majority of facilities are still being fined for having too many patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge. According to Kaiser Health News, half of all U.S. hospitals will pay Medicare readmission penalties beginning in October. Government records show the fines total a combined $420 million.
With hospitals losing such a significant amount of money to readmission penalties, it is clear there is still a lot of work to do to meet CMS standards. One potential solution is HIPAA-compliant messaging and telemedicine. According to half of the healthcare professionals surveyed in a forthcoming Everbridge report, clinicians say secure messaging can help reduce high-risk readmissions by over 57% by coordinating post care discharge communications.
This type of technology can help doctors engage and communicate with patients after discharge to ensure chronic disease management, compliance with medication and review of diagnostic tests, which, ultimately, can help your hospitals reduce readmission rates.
Without a plan of attack to reduce readmission rates moving forward – such as deploying a HIPAA compliant texting and telemedicine solution – fines are going to continue to be levied against hospitals.