Hospital readmissions are bad for patients, bad for hospitals and bad for the healthcare system as a whole.
The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP – required under Section 3025 of the Affordable Care Act) is a Medicare program that encourages hospitals to reduce avoidable readmissions by connecting payment to the quality of care hospitals provide.
If patient readmission figures are too high, the Medicare payment they receive is cut. This year, 83% of evaluated hospitals were handed a Medicare penalty for sub-standard readmittance rates. The average penalty amount was 0.69% of the payment per patient.
And that doesn’t yet mention the most direct problem with high readmittance rates. It’s a sign that patients receive an inadequate standard of healthcare.
How does health literacy impact hospital readmissions?
Many of the endemic issues that cause unplanned returns to hospitals shortly after discharge are around health literacy. That is, a patient’s ability to find, understand and use health-related information and services to inform their decisions and actions.
Historic data suggests around 36% of US adults may have poor health literacy. These people are naturally more at risk of misunderstanding the complexities of their health and the healthcare system. You can see in our infographic below how prevalent problems with understanding medication and prescriptions, return-to-emergency-department instructions (RTED), and follow-up plans are.
What we haven’t yet touched upon are inaccuracies with discharge procedure, which is worth mentioning here.
One study found that 42% of patients did not receive complete instructions upon discharge. There’s an opportunity for healthcare-focused conversational AI technology to improve accuracy through automation. Studies also suggest that avatar interfaces like digital humans may also improve adherence, understanding and health literacy by being naturally human, judgement-free and always-on.
Reducing hospital readmission rates (an infographic)
Our infographic below delves into some of the most troubling issues around hospital readmission rates, and the research that answers some important questions. Questions like:
- What’s the current state of hospital readmissions in 2021?
- What are the impacts of hospital readmissions on patients?
- What are the 2021 Medicare penalties for hospitals?
- What is the cost to Medicare of high readmission rates?
- What are some of the common causes of patient readmissions today?
- What impact does health literacy have on hospital readmissions?
- What can embodied conversational AI do to improve the rate of patient readmission?
- What is the value of digital humans and conversational AI as a way to improve health literacy and reduce readmissions.
Design, develop and deploy your own digital human in minutes
We’re excited to play a small part in creating a wider solution for improving patient care. If you have any questions, our AI experts are happy to spend time helping to answer them.
Alternatively, our ebooks section contains lots of downloadable information on how digital humans can help in specific ways, and how you deploy them to your end users with the greatest possible impact.
Our buyer's guide is a great place to start – and we'd love to hear if you have any questions.