This fall marks the third year of Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). Whether you’re part of a Level I trauma center or a small community hospital, it could be costing your organization millions of dollars, and there’s something you can do about it.Starting Oct. 1., the third phase of HRRP enacts its steepest penalties to date (up to 3 percent of Medicare base payments) when patients are readmitted within 30 days of a hospital stay. As marketers, we should be leveraging digital marketing channels to help engage patients in their care. Here’s how:
- Bolster your website: With more than 80 percent of Internet users looking for health information online, your website is a great platform to tell patients before their visit about what to expect, how to stay healthy when they go home and where to go for additional information.
- Make it mobile-friendly: Pew Research Center found that 1 in 3 cell phone users are using their phone to look for health information, but the benefits don’t stop there. A mobile friendly site makes it easier for patients to get directions and find parking. Enabling click-to-call features can help them connect with your nurse line and pharmacy when they have urgent questions.
- Consider a branded facility app: Roughly 3 percent of healthcare facilities today offer a branded facility app. In addition to differentiating your hospital, an app can help patients manage appointments, view lab reports and easily locate support services during and after their stay.
- Use in-house video marketing: According to an Arbitron study, 3 out of 4 patients and caregivers found that video display of health-related information in hospital waiting areas and cafeterias enhanced their hospital experience. Consider offering quick tips emphasizing the importance of medications and follow up care.
Effective discharge planning has been the holy grail of reducing readmissions, but why wait until patients are practically out the door to teach them about taking care of themselves?
Consider this stat: According to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report
, 1 in 5 elderly patients is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of leaving. It’s easy to see why when you consider that toward the end of a hospital stay, a patient’s eagerness to go home or physical discomfort may prevent them from hearing or remembering their discharge instructions.Using digital marketing channels can help prompt patients and their families to talk more openly with your clinical team about their care. These conversations in turn can lead to care that is more patient-centered and hopefully reduce your organization’s risk for readmissions.Want to read more? Check out: 5 Tactics for Incorporating Readmissions Rates into Your Marketing