Physicians look to limit patient readmissions by using Phytel's Hospital Readmission Management SaaS application to keep track of patients post-discharge.
Health care software company
has introduced Hospital
Readmission Management, an application that tracks patients' care after they
leave the hospital and makes automated outreach phone calls to prevent a repeat
Phytel develops population
health-management tools that let physicians track a patient's chronic
conditions, as well as their recovery from acute episodes.
Management enables physicians to view results of patient surveys through a SaaS
(software as a service) portal that Phytel hosts. An analytic engine allows
doctors to track patients' conditions and determine which patients are at risk
Patients who decline to
answer the survey are at higher risk of readmission, Russell Olsen, Phytel's
vice president of product management, told eWEEK
Hospitals are looking to
avoid penalties from CMS (Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid)
that will begin in 2012 for readmission of patients
within 30 days of discharge. Nearly one in five Medicare patients is readmitted
to an acute-care hospital within 30 days after leaving the facility, according
to a CMS study.
The readmission software
generates reports based on patient responses to determine which patients need
additional follow-up care or communications.
A sample message might read
"John Doe was discharged for congestive heart failure; he has said that he
is not taking his meds," Olsen explained. "They'd see John Doe at the
top of the list and engage him with the human touch, which is always the most
The application generates
survey questions tailored to each patient based on a particular condition, such
as a heart ailment or a broken arm. Questions may include: "Have you
filled your medications?" or "Have you followed up with your primary-care
Phytel officially announced
Hospital Readmission Management July 28.
"Up to now, there has
been relatively little automation of post-discharge care processes designed to
make sure that patients understand their discharge instructions and act on
them," Phytel CEO Steve Schelhammer said in a statement. "Phytel's
new hospital readmission management services are simply a natural extension of
the proven capabilities we provide to enable our customers to intervene and
engage patients across the full care continuum."
The readmission application
for hospitals integrates with data from the company's current applications for
primary-care doctors to enable continuity of care. Data in the physicians'
patient registry links with a Phytel care-management work list and with
The service sends
patient-satisfaction surveys to patients within 72 hours to make sure patients
understand their care instructions. Patients can choose to speak with a
hospital nurse or a call center worker. If patients don't respond to the
survey, hospital staff will follow up.
Patients are frequently
readmitted to a hospital because they didn't understand their post-care
instructions, or fail to follow up with doctors on their own, Olsen said.
"Once a patient leaves
the hospital and is discharged, often the follow-up is manual, inconsistent or
unreliable, which causes the patient to end right back up in the hospital
because the care didn't continue appropriately," Olsen said.
Although the surveys are
currently delivered via the phone, Phytel may offer them through email or text
messaging in the future, he said.