Educating patients prior to discharge can lower costs, readmission rates

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

February 4, 2009

Patients who have been educated about how to continue their care once they are discharged from the hospital are 30% less likely to return to the emergency room or be readmitted, according to a new study from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The study, which appears in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, also showed the total cost of caring for these better-educated patients decreased by $412 per patient.

The study used approximately 700 patients, about half of whom unknowingly took part in the Re-Engineered Hospital Discharge Program, (RED) and half of whom did not. The patients in the RED program had the help of trained nurses to facilitate the understanding of post-hospital care. Patients received a personalized instruction booklet that discussed medication administration and diagnoses; nurses also called patients a two to four days after discharge to check in on patients.

Not only were readmission rates reduced, but 94% of those patients who participated in the RED program also had follow-up appointments scheduled with a primary care physician (PCP); 35 % of the patients who did not participate in the RED program had follow-up appointments with their PCPs scheduled.

To read more from the AHRQ, click here.