Hospital Readmissions Report Targets Communications

Discrepancies between what providers believe they’re communicating and what patients actually understand can contribute to avoidable readmissions to acute care hospitals, according to a new report from the Manhattan-based United Hospital Fund (UHF). Seven New York City-area hospitals participated in a process improvement project, which included chart reviews, interviews with readmitted patients and family caregivers, and structured discussions with physicians. A summary of lessons learned identified specific interventions as valuable, including educating hospital staff on how to improve communications and then developing a communication measurement program; including family caregivers in interdisciplinary rounds; individualizing discharged education, via medication management teach-back techniques and assuring that clinicians make use of electronic health record enhancements, such as clinical alerts. Reducing Hospital Readmissions: Lessons from a Multi-Hospital Initiative, is available free-of-charge by download at www.uhfnyc.org.