The Patient Safe-D(ischarge) program used standardized tools to educate patients about their discharge needs, test understanding of those needs, and improve medication reconciliation at admission and discharge. A quasi-randomized controlled trial of the program found that it significantly increased patients' understanding and knowledge of their diagnoses, treatment, and required follow-up care. Based on the success of this test, Patient Safe-D was incorporated as part of the Society of Hospital Medicine's Project BOOST (Better Outcomes for Older Adults through Safe Transitions) initiative which uses medication reconciliation, teach back and the Discharge Patient Education Tool (DPET) to help reduce medication-related errors. BOOST provides a full implementation toolkit to help institutions implement this and other programs to improve discharge education.
Shannon EM, Zheng J, Orav EJ, et al. JAMA Network Open. 2021:4(3);e213474.
A 65-year-old man with metastatic cancer and past medical history of schizophrenia, developmental delay, and COPD was admitted to the hospital with a spinal fracture. He experienced postoperative complications and continued to require intermittent oxygen and BIPAP in the intensive care unit (ICU) to maintain oxygenation. Upon consultation with the palliative care team about goals of care, the patient with telephonic support of his long time caregiver, expressed his wish to go home and the palliative care team, discharge planner, and social services coordinated plans for transfer home. Altho
Social worker/nurse practitioner teams collaborate with a larger interdisciplinary team and primary care physicians to develop and implement individualized care plans for seniors and other high-risk patients. The social worker/nurse practitioner team also proactively manages and coordinates the patient's care on an ongoing basis through regular telephone and in-person contact with both patients and providers. The program, known as Geriatric Resources for Assessment and Care of Elders (GRACE), improved the provision of evidence-based care; led to significant improvements in measures of general health, vitality, social functioning, and mental health; reduced emergency department visits, hospital admissions, readmissions, and total bed days; and generated high levels of physician and patient satisfaction. These successes have been across a variety of health system contexts, including: a VA medical center, primary care health centers, and as a part of a Medicare Advantage plan. A recent analysis found that the reduction in service usage saved the VA medical center $200k per year for the 179 veterans enrolled in GRACE. Another analysis in primary care health centers found that the program was cost neutral for high-risk patients in the first 2 years, and yielded savings by year 3.
The program was initially designed to serve low-income seniors, but has subsequently been replicated with different populations, including adults of all ages who are high risk, Medicare beneficiaries who are 70+ with multiple comorbidities, and older veterans following an emergent hospital admission and discharge home.
Under a program known as the Care Transitions Intervention ®, a Transitions Coach ® encourages patients who are transferring from either a hospital or a short-term skilled nursing facility stay to home to assert a more active role in their self-care. The program has consistently reduced 30-day hospital readmissions and costs as well as 180-day hospital readmissions, even in heavily penetrated Medicare Advantage markets in which the reduction of hospital use has been an explicit focus for many years. The program has also demonstrated success and produced cost savings for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, at approximately $3,752 per patient enrolled.