How Call Reporting Helps to Optimize Post-Surgical Patient Contacts

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In an attempt to provide more timely access to hospital resources and to reduce expenses, most healthcare providers have moved as many surgical procedures as possible to an outpatient basis. Although this is great for efficiency and insurance companies love the lower costs, healthcare providers run the risk of patients not adequately following physician/surgeon care instructions and follow ups. If patients don’t adhere to instructions, they could develop potentially severe post-surgical complications, requiring readmittance.

Why is this important?

Of course, healthcare providers want their patients to recover as soon as possible and return to good health. However, there is also a huge financial penalty imposed upon providers by Medicare/Medicaid if the provider’s Patient Re-admittance Rate exceeds a certain level. Fee reimbursements can be reduced which could cost the healthcare provider millions of dollars in lost revenues. So, keeping the re-admittance rate as low as possible is critical!

To address this, many healthcare providers have instituted some Patient Post-Surgical Follow Up process which entails caregivers contacting patients (usually by phone) to check on their recovery, review physician/surgeon instructions, address patient questions and, in general, ensure that the patient is improving.

So, when should you place the first call to the patient? Is it too soon to call them the same day of the surgery? Should you wait a day or two? How many contacts should you make? How many calls does it require before the “average” patient understands and follows the recommended post-surgical instructions?

All good questions.

You can answer these questions and gain insights into how to design your post-surgical programs by deploying a Call Reporting solution. With Call Reporting, healthcare providers can test various post-surgical follow up regimens (timing of patient calls, number of calls, text messages versus phone calls), match them statistically to patient outcomes and re-admittance rates, and determine when is the optimal time to place that first call to the patient. Additionally, hospitals can also see metrics on how many calls need to be placed and whether text messages or phone calls are more effective, and for which patient types. A Call Reporting application enables the healthcare provider to develop and deploy the optimal post-surgical procedures to ensure patients follow instructions, report any issues at an early stage, return to good health, all while reducing re-admittance rates.

Many Call Reporting solutions offer open interfaces to enable healthcare providers to import call activity information into their patient tracking systems. This enables quick analysis along with ongoing monitoring of results so any necessary changes may be implemented in real-time. Consistent tracking of patient contacts can lead to improved post-surgical procedures which, hopefully, improve patient results, lowers re-admittance rates and protects critical fee reimbursements from Medicare/Medicaid.

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Mark McNeill is the Vice President of Healthcare Telecom Services for ISI Telemanagement Solutions, Inc., a Schaumburg, IL based telecom consulting and software development firm. Mr. McNeill has over 25 years of experience in Telecommunications and Medical Software industries. He has consulted with hundreds of healthcare providers and management companies on how to streamline IT costs, improve patient services and optimize efficiencies in the hospital environment.

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