Custom Content Augments Technology's Value

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , March 5, 2013

Post-Discharge Instructions On Demand
Specifically, Cullman has been able to reduce 30-day hospital readmissions by 15 percent by giving nurses iPod Touches with an app that lets them record the post-discharge instructions they are giving to patients, then allowing those patients to retrieve those recordings by phone, Web, or mobile device.

The app works on any iOS device—iPod Touches are just the least expensive ones. "The nurse tells the patient, I'm going to record the instructions that I'm providing for you, so that when you get home, if you have a question, or you forgot something that I covered with you, you or your family can call in and listen to what I'm telling you," says Cheryl Bailey, Cullman CNO and vice president of patient care services.

"Or you can log on to a computer, or your smartphone, and you can not only listen to this actual conversation, but you can also see other information related to your diagnosis."

This simple tech augmentation to discharge helps overcome the impact that a distracted patient can create by not paying close attention to complex discharge instructions, or by not being able to understand the instructions upon just one listen to the instructions, Bailey says.

"When the nurse typically goes into the room to provide the discharge teaching, the patient knows they are on their way out the door, and the nurse is the only thing standing between them and that door," Bailey says.

"When you're focused on that, you're not listening to what the nurse says. So if you're not listening, that sets you up for not following the discharge plan, because you don't remember it, and then you could be readmitted."

In addition, Cullman staff recognize that there is often no one else in the room during the discharge instruction phase. Family caregivers benefit from being able to listen to these instructions, too.

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