Health system uses mHealth to sustain dialogue with patients, reduce readmissions

A San Diego-based health system is using a mobile coaching program to keep patients from being readmitted to the hospital.

At Sharp HealthCare's Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, the text-messaging solution helps keep patients engaged with their care long after a hospital stay.

The use of text messaging with nurses allows them to more easily sustain a dialogue with patients during the health system's 30-day post-discharge program, Janet Appel, R.N., Sharp Rees-Stealy's director of population health management, says in an announcement.

"[This program] lets us have a sustained dialogue with patients to provide important guidance and tools to help them through the recovery process. It also allows us to be there as a trusted resource when and where they need it if they encounter setbacks along the way," Appel says.

The program sends daily, scheduled text messages to patients with instructions on discharge processes and care management. Texts can also encourage the user to take their meds, create follow-up appointments and live a healthy lifestyle.

Many providers turn to health technology to reduce readmissions.

For example, Cleveland Clinic is using analytics to keep patients out of the hospital and to assess their risk for readmissions if they are admitted, Anthony Warmuth, administrative director of quality and patient safety at Cleveland Clinic, previously told FierceHealthT. An outcomes review tool comes into play when a patient is readmitted, allowing employees to review the case closely.

In addition, Penn Medicine is using an app and a tablet to cut readmission rates for heart failure patients in its Penn Care at Home program.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement