Well-informed patients help cut readmissions, costs

Informing patients not only helps patients, it can translate into dollars for hospitals. A new study by Harvard University indicates providing patients with more information about their conditions and medication management helps prevent rehospitalizations.

Given that, starting in October 2012, Medicare will no longer pay hospitals for preventable readmissions for heart failure and pneumonia, hospitals are increasingly looking at ways to cut down on rehospitalizations.

Harvard researchers surveyed seniors at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center after using standardized admission templates, palliative care consultations, and root-cause analysis conferences and found that patient rehospitalization dropped from 16.5 percent to 13.3 percent, by nearly 20 percent.

"Reducing rehospitalization has become a national target of health-care reform," says Robert J. Schreiber, MD, HSL's chief medical officer, in a statement. "Readmissions have a significant impact on the nation's health system and are often preventable."

For more:
- read the USA Today article
- check out the Harvard press release