There’s some interesting news in a healthcare improvement report issued today. Here’s a link to details of that report. It was issued by the Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation and the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.
In short, OHSU Hospital and 13 other Oregon Hospitals were successful in achieving several significant hospital quality and safety measures including a reduction in readmissions, reduced crowding in the emergency room, and improved language services for patients.
One area of success that OHSU was particularly proud of was our achievement in reducing hospital readmissions following initial treatment for heart failure. Unfortunately, readmissions for heart failure patients within 30 days of discharge are quite common for various reasons including the presence of additional interfering disease issues, the need for patients to strictly follow orders, and complexities related to medications provided at discharge.
Over an 18-month period, OHSU and our partners focused on new methods to keep patients from having to return to the hospital. The efforts included, new methods for providing patient instructions, teaching patients how to monitor for problems and teaching them when to call for help, thereby partnering in their care.
By implementing several methods, OHSU was able to make a significant impact. Prior to this effort, our readmission rates for heart failure were about 27-28%. Since the beginning of the year, we are well below a 20% readmission rate which is very impressive when compared to national rates.
Here’s a graph that illustrates the data
An interesting side-note: The reduction of readmission rates is a significant focus of health reform. Hospitals that have high readmission rates will witness a cut in Medicare reimbursement rates. US News covered this issue in 2010.
I spoke with a group of OHSU involved providers recently about the effort.