Not easy for practices to perfect patient followup

Doctor time
Procedures to follow up with patients need improvement.

Procedures to follow up with patients either after an office visit or after a visit to the emergency room or a hospital stay need improvement.

Current procedures aren’t working in his own patient-centered medical home, writes Fred N. Pelzman, M.D., of Weill Cornell Internal Medicine Associate, on MedPage Today.

Medical technicians at the practice make post-visit calls to patients the day after an office visit, using a scripted telephone call to check in. But practitioners tell Pelzman the calls feel like busy work that don’t really provide additional care. And doctors often need to make a followup call anyway.

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Similar problems occur with transitions for patients who have been hospitalized or go to the emergency room, Pelzman says. His practice is now working on instituting a telehealth program in an effort to keep patients out of the emergency room.

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Involving various disciplines in the transition process, such as enlisting therapists to improve patient education, is one way Indiana University Health North Hospital found to improve patient care transitions between the hospital and community. Some practices are also using automated phone notifications to boost patient followup care.