After struggling to hit its readmission rate goals, Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital adopted a text-first approach to patient outreach for follow-ups that reduced readmissions and nurse workloads.
Readmission rates are a key factor in quality ratings and reimbursement levels, but lowering them can be a challenge.
While following up with patients post-discharge is a proven method of reducing readmission rates, getting in touch with patients over the phone is difficult and time-consuming. Park Nicollet’s nurses were spending a significant amount of time calling patients and leaving messages, but readmission goals still weren’t being met.
Joan Sandstrom, VP of primary care at Park Nicollet, knew a solution had to exist that was more efficient, allowed them to reach more patients and did not add to the nursing workload.
After searching for other patient engagement methods, Sandstrom and her team partnered with PerfectServe to implement an automated, text-first patient follow-up solution at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital.
PerfectServe built a series of customized follow-up text messages that assess each patient’s risk for readmission. Rather than having nurses call each patient individually, the PerfectServe solution delivers this simple series of text messages to patients automatically.
The PerfectServe online dashboard collects and analyzes every patient’s responses — and nonresponses — and automatically flags patients for follow-up. Nurses receive these notifications, which are then used to inform their patient engagement strategy.
With PerfectServe, nurses get a global view of how their patients are doing and how they should prioritize patients who need additional attention to reduce the likelihood of readmittance.
Park Nicollet’s results showed that patients who received and responded to text messages were 32% less likely to readmit than those who were solely
contacted by phone. (These results are risk-adjusted to account for the relative complexity of each patient’s conditions.)
Overall, 70% of questions sent via text message received a response from patients, reducing the number of phone calls from nurses by 25%. PerfectServe made it possible to segment Park Nicollet’s patient population into risk categories, highlighting the 17% of cases that needed immediate follow-up.
These findings were presented at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital’s monthly Readmission Council, and as a result of their success with PerfectServe, Park Nicollet elected to expand the solution to other hospitals in the system.