Healthcare Marketing Tactics to Help Reduce Hospital Readmissions
Hospitals are being penalized for readmissions under Medicare’s new rules; therefore, it’s more imperative than ever for healthcare marketers to do their fair share of the heavy lifting.
Three-quarters of patients fail to take their medications as directed because they lack the literacy to understand prescription instructions. (National Council on Patient Information and Education)
Studies also show that nearly 20 percent of Medicare discharges are followed by an adverse event within 30 days, usually related to medication mismanagement.
Two big factors in many readmissions are related to discharge and post-discharge care. By examining and adjusting the discharge process, we can help prevent readmissions and improve patient outcomes, thereby avoiding penalties.
Here are some ideas to get you going.
- Make it readable. We’ve all seen the papers we are given when we leave the hospital about what we should and shouldn’t do. And most of it looks like medical textbooks, not like material we would actually read. Think about how the information is presented and make it readable. Timely, well-designed patient education at the time of discharge is an important priority.
- Give it to them in formats they’ll use. As marketers, we have to think in terms of patient demographics when creating patient education material. Seniors are more responsive to printed material and moms/expectant moms are more likely to want their material digitally – or even as video. Keep your audiences in mind when having this material created. .
- Discharge from the start. Educate staff that a successful discharge starts at admission. Throughout the care process, clinical staff should provide tips for when they get home, next steps, etc. so patients aren’t overwhelmed with a ton of new information at the time of discharge.
- Internal education. Discharging from the start requires internal education and expectations. By creating internal training materials, such as videos and reference sheets, you can educate staff of expectations. Communicate frequently with reminders posted in nurse’s stations and other employee areas.
- Facilitate a support system. By creating support communities, hospitals can extend their reach by facilitating online patient communities or support groups.
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