It’s no secret that a trip to the hospital is of a significant expense. However, readmissions can take it up a notch as they tend to be more costly. Part of the issue could be due to the gap between discharge and homecare. Patients can receive complex or conflicting information, resulting in a lack of success when it comes to following-up with their treatment plan.
With efforts to solve this challenge, hospitals can leverage on telehealth to maintain the patient-physician relationship, even after discharge. As telehealth aids in the continuity of care, here are some ways on how telehealth helps reduce readmission rates.
1. Maintains care even after admission
The moment patients discharge, telehealth can help ensure a smooth transitioning for when patients receive care in a different setting, such as creating a post-discharge care programme for patients. In such programs, it can include home visits from home therapists or nurses, teleconsultations, or scheduling a follow-up appointment. It can also provide ongoing patient education through consulting a doctor online.
For instance, if a diabetic patient is struggling with taking their insulin, then they can receive guidance without making the trip down to the hospital. Providing immediate and hassle-free access to healthcare professionals holds the potential to help patients overcome or avoid complications, which often results in trips back to the hospital.
2. Enhances the discharge process through on-demand clarification
After staying in the hospital, one would either feel anxious or eager to leave the hospital and go back home. Either way, patients may tend to forget the specific set of instructions given to them by their provider, or misplace their paperwork, or come up with questions that they didn’t think of before the discharge process.
Being able to understand what is involved in the after-care is crucial, especially regarding tasks that might be difficult to perform outside the hospital. To illustrate, a patient who requires the use of an oxygen mask might face challenges doing so. But with the efficiency and accessibility of telehealth apps, the patient can seek a virtual doctor to address their questions effectively.
As a whole, telehealth apps empower patients to reach out for help through real-time video assistance. Likewise, healthcare providers can also check in with patients to highlight any issues and changes that might have cropped up until after the discharge.
3. Eases the process of monitoring and scheduling follow-ups
Often, following-up is more than just checking in the patient’s condition. While nurses and medical caregivers can assist with specific tasks and monitor the patient’s wellbeing, post-discharge appointments with the main doctor are still necessary.
Unfortunately, providers can’t see their patients as much as they’d want to. On the other hand, patients can face challenges in securing transportation or scheduling for an in-person appointment. Rescheduling appointments isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Missed appointments, along with long wait periods, can allow underlying health complications to go unnoticed. That said, it can lead to eventual readmission.
With telehealth, patients can see a doctor online for check-ups without the need to book an in-person appointment. For instance, our MyCLNQ mobile app allows users to locate the nearest clinic as well as the next available doctor. Patients can then cut down on their waiting time. On top of providing an array of healthcare services, MyCLNQ also facilitates the booking of a private ambulance in Singapore for non-urgent cases.