Texas primary care group uses IBM software to cut hospital readmissions

Southeast Texas Medical Associates (SETMA), a primary care group based in Beaumont, Tex., is using IBM business analytics software to gain greater insight into hospital readmissions. The software helps the 29-doctor group identify the causes of readmissions and design interventions to prevent patients from being readmitted.

In the first six months of this project, SETMA has been able to cut the number of its hospital readmissions by 22 percent by enabling doctors to identify trends and adjust treatment protocols to improve post-discharge care.

Using the IBM application, SETMA's staff compared the characteristics of patients who were readmitted against those who were not. Among the factors they looked at were ethnicity, socioeconomic status, the follow-up care received, and how quickly they received that care. Equipped with the results of this analysis, SETMA instituted new post-acute-care treatment plans to help patients recuperate and stay out of the hospital.

SETMA is also using the IBM program in other areas of the practice. For example, its doctors have begun calculating cardiovascular risk scores for relevant patients at each office visit. According to IBM, it used to take a physician over an hour to calculate a patient's score manually; it can now be done instantly as key data points are instantaneously captured into a report on cardiovascular risk.

In addition, the software enables patients to view, track and compare their own progress against that of other patients with similar conditions.

 To learn more:

--Read the IBM press release

--See an article about factors in readmissions

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