Study: Patient education saves money by cutting readmissions, ER visits

A new study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality concludes that patients who clearly understand their after-hospital care instructions are 30 percent less likely to be readmitted or visit the emergency department than those who don't.

The research, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that total costs--including both hospitalization and projected outpatient expenses--were $412 lower for patients who received complete information versus those who didn't.

To draw this conclusion, researchers developed a program educating patients about post-hospital care known as the Re-Engineered Hospital Discharge Program. Patients were randomly assigned either to a control group or to participate in the program, which used specially-trained nurses and pharmacists to manage follow-up care.

Within 30 days, the 370 patients who participated in the program had 30 percent fewer subsequent ER visits and readmissions than the 368 patients that did not. Ninety-four percent of patients participating in the program left the hospital with a follow-up appointment with their primary care physician, compared with 35 for the control group.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Healthcare Finance News article