ALTOONA, Pa., Feb. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Avoidable hospitalizations is the number one patient-related concern facing homecare agencies, hospitals and the healthcare community nationwide, according to a new study commissioned by homecare industry leaders.
"The Delta Study to Reduce Hospitalizations: A National Study to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations through Home Care," sponsored by Delta Health Technologies, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), the Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign, the NAHC Forum of State Associations and national research firm Fazzi Associates, identified those homecare providers that have proven most effective in reducing unplanned hospitalizations.
More than 1,000 homecare agencies across the U.S. participated in the study through a combination of surveys and in-depth interviews. What was clear from the study was that agencies throughout the country had a shared understanding of the various hospitalization reduction practices and intentionally used them at a high rate. Five major findings emerged:
- Homecare agencies, nationwide, share a strong understanding for preferred hospitalization reduction efforts
- Most hospitalization reduction strategies do not cost agencies additional funds
- While there are many hospitalization reduction or avoidance practices, they tend to group around four major types of strategies
- Use of particular strategies is not what distinguished successful agencies from non-successful agencies
- What distinguished successful agencies from unsuccessful agencies was not the strategy, but rather how the strategy was implemented
"These findings demonstrate that there are specific strategies known to, and used by, the field," said Keith Crownover, president and CEO of Delta Health Technologies and chairman of NAHC's Home Care Technology Association of America. "Our goals were twofold: first, identify the best practices that are used by hospital- and nonhospital-based agencies; and second, based on those findings, initiate a systematic effort that results in homecare agencies not only learning about, but also adopting the findings, and ultimately bringing about a culture change in this growing industry. This was the largest study of its kind in the history of homecare, and it reflects the industry's interest in doing the right thing for our patients."
As the population ages over the next 20 years, homecare is projected to be among the top growth areas in health-related industries. According to the 2011 Statistical Supplement of Medicare & Medicaid Research Review, 3.4 million Medicare recipients were served by over 11,000 home health care agencies throughout the country, with rehospitalization rates hovering around 29 percent.
As homecare becomes a more viable way to help lighten hospitals' financial burdens, agencies are under increased pressure to reduce their avoidable hospitalization rates.
"Every three-percent reduction in the hospitalization rate equates to nearly 100,000 patients staying in their homes, and approximately $700 million in savings to the Medicare program," adds Crownover. "We believe that this report will provide homecare providers, consultants and vendors with the insights necessary to make a significant impact. The real winners will be patients, who will be treated in a more responsive, respectful, and caring fashion, and who will avoid the trauma of being sent back to the hospital."
Delta develops specialized solutions and services for homecare, hospice and private duty. This is the third in a series of studies commissioned by the company, which also includes the Delta OASIS-C Best Practice Project and the Delta Excellence in Therapy Project.
For more information, or to download a free copy of the report, visit DeltaHealthTech.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, Pennsylvania, 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