ALTOONA, Pa., Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Home healthcare is projected to rank among the top growth areas in the next 20 years, yet rehospitalization remains one of the most critical and costly issues currently affecting the quality scores of homecare agencies (not to mention the lives of the patients served by them).
In response, the industry has completed the largest collaborative effort of its kind — The Delta Study to Reduce Hospitalizations: A National Study to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations Through Home Care — sponsored by Delta Health Technologies®. The study identifies the best practices in use by the nation's most successful homecare agencies, and serves as a guideline to reduce or even eliminate patient readmissions. Initial results were presented at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) 30th Annual Meeting in Las Vegas on October 4.
The study is co-sponsored by NAHC with the Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign, the Forum of State Associations, Community Health Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission and American Physical Therapy Association serving as advisors Fazzi Associates, a national best-practice research firm, manages and facilitates the study. The study's mixed methodology of qualitative and quantitative research collected data via web and phone from more than 800 agencies that had been selected on the basis of their most recent Home Health Compare scores, and received input from more than 3,600 respondents.
Sponsors are planning four free webinars on their research in November and a national Executive Best Practice Report for December. Complete results will be made available free of charge to all homecare agencies.
"The significance of this study is best exemplified by what it means in terms of the sheer number of people rehospitalized and the associated costs," says Keith Crownover, president and CEO of Delta Health Technologies. "Assuming a national average homecare hospitalization rate of 26 percent, it would mean that 858,000 Medicare patients were directly hospitalized from homecare agencies. At an average rehospitalization cost of $7,200 (MedPAC June 2007), the cost of Medicare patients being re-hospitalized from homecare agencies would be more than six billion dollars. It's a staggering figure, and agencies are under incredible pressure to reduce those rates."
Initial top line findings revealed:
- Number of strategies identified and studied: 32;
- Average number of strategies "intentionally" used by agencies: 10, the top five of which have no associated costs;
- Success with lowering hospitalization rates strongly correlates with success in having Home Health Compare scores in the top third;
- Technology strategies disproportionately represented in the top 5% of most successful agencies include Telehealth and Point of Care; and
- Homecare recently reduced rehospitalizations from 29% to 26% without financial threat or incentive, allowing nearly 100,000 patients to remain home, saving Medicare nearly $700 million — nearly twice the amount of the projected copayment.
"Many agencies are doing a good job of keeping readmissions to a minimum," adds Crownover. "Often, it's the result of unclear discharge directions or a lack of follow-up communication. The goal of this study was to uncover exactly what's working, and to share those findings with the entire industry. We believe it will have a positive impact not only on homecare agencies but on the nation's healthcare industry as a whole."
A leader in the software industry for more than 40 years, Delta develops specialized solutions and services for homecare, hospice and private duty providers. This is the third in a series of studies commissioned by the company, which also includes the Delta National Excellence in Therapy Project and the Delta National OASIS-C Best Practice Study.
For more information, visit AvoidHospitalizations.com.
About Delta Health Technologies, LLC
Delta Health Technologies, LLC is one of the most experienced providers of information systems and services for homecare entities nationwide. Headquartered in Altoona, Pa., Delta focuses exclusively on providing technology solutions for homecare, hospice and private duty. Delta has been working with its customers to achieve their goals for more than 40 years. More information can be obtained by visiting DeltaHealthTech.com.
SOURCE Delta Health Technologies, LLC