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120,000 patients, 100% coverage: Success with post-discharge calls

120,000 patients, 100% coverage:
Success with post-discharge calls

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Nebraska Medicine, the largest provider organization in the state, faced a considerable challenge. To ensure a consistent care experience, leaders wanted to reach 100% of Nebraska Medicine’s patients with post-discharge calls—no small feat for an organization that discharges more than 120,000 patients each year.

But with NRC Health’s patient experience capabilities, Nebraska Medicine was able to streamline its post-discharge contact operations, and produce some outstanding results in the process.

100%

OF PATIENTS REACHED WITHIN 72
HOURS OF DISCHARGE

74%

OF CALLS REDUCED FOR
MEDICAL COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

70%

OF PATIENTS ELECTED TO TAKE THE
TRANSITIONS ASSESSMENT

Opportunity

Nebraska Medicine has earned pride of place among the state’s healthcare providers. As the premier academic medical center of the region, Nebraska Medicine has long maintained outstanding clinical standards for over 120,000 patients each year, across the entire continuum of care.

The organization’s status also makes it a draw for complex medical cases. These patients receive extraordinary care while in a Nebraska Medicine facility, but afterward they sometimes require some extra support. Though most patients grasp their post-discharge instructions, occasionally patients harbor confusions about medications or follow-up appointments.

Nebraska Medicine’s leaders wanted this to change. They wanted the patient’s post-discharge experience to reflect the same standards that Nebraska Medicine sets within its facilities—but to do that, they needed to reach 100% of the organization’s patients with post-discharge calls. The organization’s enormous volumes made manual phone calls within the critical 24–48 hours post-discharge prohibitively time-consuming—even with a dedicated Medical Communications team conducting the phone calls.

Leaders considered a range of options to make post-discharge calls work. They could use algorithmic analysis to trim down the number of patients to only those deemed high risk, but that would run counter to the goal of 100% coverage. They could hire more staff to make phone calls, but that would compromise Nebraska Medicine’s budget.

Or, they realized, they could partner with NRC Health and reach 100% of their patients with a fraction of the time-commitment from their existing Medical Communications teams.

“We want our patients to feel a sense of confidence for their entire care journey, not just when they’re in the hospital. That’s why it was important for us to cultivate a better post-discharge experience.”

Chaise Camp, Executive Director of Patient Experience, Nebraska Medicine

Solution

NRC Health’s automated platform uses Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) technology to reach 100% of patients within one day of discharge. Its quick, convenient assessment invites high response rates from patients, and enables them to self-select for extra clinical support. Once this occurs, the Medical Communications team is immediately notified, and can rapidly intervene to resolve the patient’s issues.

This spares staff the workload of making manual phone calls to every patient, broadens the reach of providers’ post-discharge contacts, and ultimately reduces readmissions by walking patients through any emergent post-discharge complications.

NRC Health also documents the results of post-discharge outreach by seamlessly capturing data from every call, and reporting findings to a centralized dashboard that leaders can consult at any time. With it, leaders get an at-a-glance view of who is contacted, and what happens next, across the entire organization—making NRC Health’s capabilities invaluable for strategic planning.


“We can see when there are fewer questions about medications, or fewer questions about follow-up appointments. We can see the indicators of our success.”

Jeremy Carr, Lead Advisor, Patient Experience, Nebraska Medicine

Result

After implementing NRC Health’s post-discharge capabilities, it wasn’t long before Nebraska Medicine started to see extraordinary results.

100% PATIENT OUTREACH

NRC Health helped Nebraska Medicine achieve the seemingly impossible: making calls to 100% of patients within 24–48 hours of discharge, without compromising the capabilities of their Medical Communications team.

50+% PARTICIPATION RATES

Organization-wide participation in NRC Health’s assessment exceeded every expectation. In some units, more than 70% of patients elected to take the assessment. Among emergency-department patients, an average of 36% participated.

DRAMATICALLY REDUCED CALL BURDENS

Prior to partnering with NRC Health, Nebraska Medicine’s Medical Communications team faced the insurmountable challenge of calling all of the organization’s patients, in the hopes of finding the few who required extra clinical support. But by automatically identifying patients in need, NRC Health trimmed down call-lists to only include those who would benefit from contact. As a result, lists were reduced to just 26% of their original size.

100%

patient outreach

50+%

in participation rates

RENEWED FOCUS

Without NRC Health’s capabilities, the Medical Communications team was overwhelmed. Not only did they have an immense volume of post-discharge calls to perform, but they had to balance those responsibilities with inbound triage calls as well. NRC Health changed that. By giving the Medical Communications team immediate visibility into their patients’ needs, NRC Health empowered Nebraska Medicine to better serve their patients. Not only were patient’ concerns automatically identified and documented, but the vast majority of them were resolvable within five minutes or less.

A SHARP UPTICK IN SATISFACTION

Finally, the efficient follow-up calls made it possible to have a powerful impact on patient sentiment. Patients who report receiving a follow-up phone call from Nebraska Medicine now rate their experience more positively than those who don’t.

“When you’re calling every patient, you face a situation where only a tiny minority—one in 10 patients—actually needs that follow-up. You don’t want to miss them, but you don’t want to squander all that time, either…we can catch the patients who need help, without taking staff away from their work.”

Jeremy Carr, Lead Advisor, Patient Experience, Nebraska Medicine

Forward

Nebraska Medicine will continue using NRC Health’s patient experience capabilities to hone their post-discharge programs. Leaders can use the advanced analytics to identify the most effective interventions for improving clarity after discharge, achieving better clinical outcomes, and instilling the confidence that is such a big part of the Nebraska Medicine brand.

“You can’t underestimate the symbolism and the value in following up with patients. Hearing from you means a lot to them—it shows that you care, and more importantly, it shows that you’re looking out for them. That’s integral to the experience we want to offer.”

Chaise Camp, Executive Director of Patient Experience, Nebraska Medicine


LEARN MORE

For more on  NRC Health solutions,
call 800.388.4264 or visit nrchealth.com/demo.