Archive for June, 2009

Preventing Patient Readmissions Improves Bottom Line Results

June 24, 2009

Organizations that make discharge phone calls reduce non-reimbursable readmissions between 20-30%. Research shows that patient/family likelihood to recommend a hospital is above the 90th percentile when they receive a discharge call. Research shows litigation goes down when a patient receives a phone call after discharge.

So how do organizations execute discharge phone calls?

Who to call:

  • Studies show that unplanned readmissions rank the highest among patients who are suffering from congestive heart failure, pneumonia, and complications from surgical procedures such as heart stents and major hip and knee replacements. As organizations make phone calls to discharged patients, this high-risk group should be the first priority.

When to call:

  • Hospitals see maximum results when calling discharged patients within 24-72 hours of going home. They catch early signs of adverse events, misunderstanding side effects of medication, therapeutic questions, and nosocomial infections.

Who calls:

  • Trained healthcare personnel. The Discharge Call Manager™ software makes it possible to provide high quality calls from non-RN’s, allowing RN’s to provide direct patient care and save organizational dollars. Questions asked during discharge calls can be developed that align with HCAHPS requirements.

What to say:

  • Studer Group recommends including quality-focused questions, such as:
    • Do you have any questions about your discharge (home care) instructions?
    • Do you have any questions about your medications? Are you aware of side-effects? (Mayo Clinic Proceedings study: Only 14% of patients knew medication side effects, 28% knew medication names and 37% knew purpose of medications, August 2005)
    • Do you have your follow-up appointment scheduled?
  • Many organizations ask Unit Specific questions dependent on where the patient received their care. Studer Group will be happy to share successful questions by unit, in addition to populating these into the Discharge Call Manager. Click here to access our Discharge Call resource page and Question Library.


Discharge calls produce better clinical outcomes and are the right thing to do for patients and families. It’s a great way to verify that patients understand post-care instructions which reduce preventable readmissions. Most importantly, lives are enhanced and saved.

For best practices and frequently asked questions about discharge phone calls, contact Rachael Johnson.