Improve care transitions to reduce readmissions

Before an insurer can successfully reduce hospital readmission rates, it should first work toward improving care transitions, according to Highmark. The Pittsburgh-based insurer has achieved "great traction" in reducing readmissions, largely because it requires hospitals to submit a "comprehensive care transition plan" to the patient upon discharge, AIS Health reported. Plus, that plan must be provided to the next level of care provider within 24 hours of discharge.

"As you're leaving the hospital, making [a follow-up] appointment with a caregiver probably isn't the first thing on your mind ... and often it gets forgotten," said Page Babbit, Highmark's director of provider engagement. "So hospitals are working on making that appointment, and are trying to follow up with the patient to make sure they keep it."

The hospital staff also must reconcile all of the patient's medications and ensure the patient knows how to manage the prescriptions on their own. "Our hospital partners have been working with this program for a while, and have become quite astute at knowing where to attack in regards to various types of intervention," she told AIS Health. Article