Care coordination, with the help of Personal Health Partners (PHP), helps avoid patient readmissions, prevent medication errors and decrease duplicate testing, to name a few benefits to population health. Here‘s just one example of the work they do.
“Nearly 10 percent of patients we follow up with are confused about their discharge orders,” said Beth McCoy, PHP coordinator in the South King market. When a patient is discharged from the hospital, the flurry of activity, paperwork and instructions can be intimidating. Patients who aren‘t clear on what to do when they get home can end up making mistakes with medication, participating in inadvisable activities or even getting readmitted to the hospital.
“We‘ve seen this happen a lot with our elderly patients because at the point of discharge they may still not feel well, so they just don‘t understand; they don‘t absorb it,” McCoy said.
Helen* is one of those patients – she was very concerned about the discharge instructions she received. Helen, who is in her early 70s, had been hospitalized with a small bowel obstruction. McCoy reached out to Helen after her discharge, and during that phone conversation McCoy discovered that someone had told Helen she couldn‘t continue drinking prune juice when she left the hospital.
“She was quite concerned about her prune juice,” McCoy said. “Helen was convinced she would be back in the hospital without it. And she probably would have been.”
McCoy immediately followed up with Helen‘s primary care provider. Within a couple hours, she was able to alleviate Helen‘s concerns: It was perfectly fine for Helen to continue drinking prune juice. Helen was grateful to have that reassurance – and to know someone was watching out for her.
“Whether or not you can drink prune juice may seem like a silly matter to most, but for Helen it could have had a significant effect on her health,” McCoy said. “It‘s important for us to engage our patients, to listen to their questions and concerns. The impact that has on the patient experience and overall quality of care cannot be overstated.”
* Name changed to protect patient confidentiality and privacy.
Learn more about Personal Health Partners by watching the Personal Health Partners video