LOWERING READMITS IN SKILLED NURSING: TELEMEDICINE & HOSPITALIST ARE KEY
Written By: Waseem Ghannam | Oct, 16th 2017
The country is now turning to telemedicine to provide top quality care to patients in skilled nursing facilities directly.Post-acute care has evolved over the last several years to expand their services and maintain demand. Skilled nursing facilities are being asked to care for higher acuity patients as hospitals discharge patients quicker. SNFs are constantly asked to meet the needs of their acute care partners while meeting regulatory changes at the same time.
There is pressure from hospitals to discharge patients quicker, and lower length of stay statistics while providing quality care, all while preventing 30-day readmissions. Referring hospitals hold high expectations for their post-acute partners and providers are being held accountable for patient outcomes. Hospitals are focused on reducing 30-day readmission rates to avoid fines and optimize Medicare reimbursement but over 2,500 hospitals failed to meet the standards for the Readmissions Reduction Program in 2016. Telemedicine use in the post-acute setting is the obvious solution to improve clinical outcomes while maximizing reimbursement potential and reducing hospital readmissions.
Medical Directors tend to utilize mid-levels to assist them on rounding and caring for these patients once they are in the post-acute setting, but these providers are typically only present on weekdays and during day-time hours. This leaves a void during nocturnal and weekend hours, and they are left to make complex medical decisions over the phone with little diagnostic information. As a result, patients are routinely transported to emergency departments for assessment and care. The skilled nursing/emergency department loop creates stress for the patient, the hospital, and the skilled nursing facility, while driving unnecessary healthcare costs up and affecting 30-Day readmission rates.
TeleHealth Solution offers great promise as a strategy to close the skilled nursing/emergency department loop. TeleHealth Solution provides specialized telemedicine carts with cameras and diagnostic tools that put physicians bedside when it is needed the most. A live two-way video connection between a patient and our virtual Hospitalist allows a thorough examination and a plan on care to be set in place. With our technology and skilled Hospitalists, we are able to avoid a hospital readmission 80% of the time.
Telemedicine has been used for over 40 years and is a proven method to delivering quality healthcare at a lower cost, but TeleHeath Solution is changing Telemedicine in Skilled Nursing Facilities. TeleHealth Solution sets its self apart from other telemedicine companies by using United States based, Hospitalist physicians only, to evaluate and treat patients. Hospitalists are physicians who only work as general practitioners in the Acute Care setting. Hospitalists are acute care experts and they know the medical conditions that need to be treated in a hospital, versus the medical care that can be successfully provided to a patient while they remain comfortable in a skilled nursing facility. This makes a Hospitalist physician the best resource to make appropriate decisions on patient outcomes. With the use of Hospitalists, skilled nursing facilities are able to accept more medically complex patients, satisfying the needs of their acute care partners and improving patient and facility outcomes all while driving down healthcare costs and reducing readmissions.
About TeleHealth Solution
TeleHealth Solution is a Charlotte NC-based, physician-owned TeleMedicine group offering custom, turnkey plans for equipping facilities with skilled TeleHospitalists and cutting-edge TeleMedicine carts that work with basic Wi-Fi. TeleHealth provides virtual, face-to-face care for patients in skilled nursing facilities, rural and critical access hospitals, and more.
For more information, visit www.telehealthsolution.com