Hospitals across the United States are in a constant battle to reduce readmission rates across the board. Medicare has punished 82% of hospitals for excessive readmission rates in its 10th annual round of penalties, cutting payments to nearly half in some cases and leveraging heavy fines to prevent future readmissions.
These penalties have shown positive effects on readmission rates over the last decade. Heart failure patient readmission rates dropped from 24.8% to 20.5%, heart attack patient rates dropped from 19.7% to 15.5%, and pneumonia patient rates decreased from 20% to 15.8%. While these declines mean good things for both patients and providers, readmissions penalties are still having detrimental effects on healthcare facilities all over the United States.
Unfortunately for hospitals, many readmissions are difficult to prevent as they begin on the patient side. Recent studies have identified some of the key factors contributing to the cardiac readmissions specifically:
• Hypertension from stress
• Lack of knowledge
• Non-adherence to medication and treatment plan
• Failure to appear for follow-up appointments
While providers can attempt to educate patients before discharge to prevent some of these issues, there are many limiting factors at play.
The SmartHeart® Hospital Readmission Reduction Program
While most readmissions reductions programs focus on implementing monetary penalties on hospitals with higher readmissions rates, the SmartHeart® Hospital Readmission Reduction Program focuses on providing hospitals with the training and equipment needed to effectively reduce cardiac readmissions, one of the leading causes of high readmission rates in hospitals across the country.
As a portable 12-lead ECG technology, SmartHeart® allows patients to perform ECGs from the comfort of home, with results sent immediately to a 24/7 network of board-certified cardiologists who can provide preliminary interpretation, saving time on the provider side and giving fast results for the patient.
Through this usage, SmartHeart® eliminates three of the key factors that contribute to 30 and 60-day readmissions for cardiac patients. By allowing patients to perform ECGs at home, SmartHeart® eliminates the risk of cancellation for follow-up appointments. Similarly, SmartHeart® makes it easy for patients to adhere to the post-discharge treatment plan. With no shaving required and no uncomfortable adhesives or gels, SmartHeart® is comfortable for the patient and can perform a 12-lead ECG in just 30 seconds. Finally, through the use of the 24/7 cardiologist network, patients can have peace of mind, reducing stress and relieving hypertension that can lead to worse patient outcomes.
The Healthcare Burden
Beyond helping remove barriers on the patient side, SmartHeart® also helps providers to administer higher levels of care. The issue of healthcare burnout is only growing larger. Doctors, nurses, administrators, and other staff are feeling increased demands to perform with fewer resources available. Recent studies have shown that the demand for healthcare workers will continue to grow faster than the supply, leading to a shortage of up to 139,000 physicians by 2033. If this trend continues, healthcare will become even more of a premium, decreasing availability of care for those in need and worsening any future public health emergencies.
By improving communication between patients and providers through the 24/7 cardiologist network, SmartHeart® increases patient satisfaction. This same network also removes the burden of interpretation from providers while keeping patients at home, reducing the use of in-hospital resources and staff. Burnout is a prevalent issue within the healthcare industry. Keeping staff free of any extra burdens assists in preventing burnout, allowing patients to receive better care.
The mission of the SmartHeart® Hospital Readmission Reduction Program is to increase the availability of high-quality cardiac care to those in need while reducing the burden and cost on healthcare providers. When a hospital implements the program, a SmartHeart® care team will assist in setup and patient education to ensure effectiveness.
If you are interested in signing up for the program or want to learn more about SmartHeart® contact us today at: