Patient Education and Cost in Healthcare
There is an old saying that knowledge is power…..but when it comes to healthcare, it turns out that knowledge is also equivalent to massive cost savings – especially when it comes to Emergency Room (ER) costs.
That is because there is an intrinsic link between patient education, and cost of care. You can read more about America’s ER epidemic in this post.
According to a recent statistic released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, “patients who have a clear understanding of their after-hospital care instructions are 30% less likely to be readmitted or visit the emergency department than patients who lack this information.” Patient education is not only beneficial for improved satisfaction, but there is a sound financial case for improving this element of health care.
Fewer re-admissions and ER visits also translate to higher overall savings for health systems. AHRQ found that total costs were an average of $412 lower for patients who received education than those who did not. Educational components may include information about a disease or diagnosis, follow up instructions on self-care at the time of discharge, or preventive information.
The bottom line is, ensuring that the patient had access to appropriate, reliable information was a critical determinant in the overall cost of care. DocResponse helps organizations and insurers facilitate patient education and engagement by providing a comprehensive solution that not only produces the most accurate medical diagnosis based on patient self-assessments (as recently recognized by a Harvard Study)…but then takes patient engagement one step further by providing reliable, trusted information on the patients conditions and treatment options.
Putting information into the hands of those that need it most…today’s patients…is a critical, but often overlooked step in healthcare cost containment.
In fact, when patients have access to reliable points of information, it can prevent them from seeking emergency room services in the first place. A study of DocResponse users found that 45% of users saved themselves an unneeded trip to the doctor’s office or emergency room. This produces huge cost savings for the patient, the payer, and the hospital system.
Educating patients, and providing them self-guided assistance when they need it most is one of the most effective ways to ensure that today’s healthcare patients become tomorrow’s empowered healthcare consumers.
Identifying and implementing innovative programs to both achieve higher quality of health care, reduce healthcare costs….and simultaneously make patients happier is important right now. In the future, with the onset of value based purchasing it will become absolutely critical.
Are you interested in increasing patient education and satisfaction at your organization? Here are three easy ways to get started:
- Make it a part of your process to provide either online or print materials to each patient which is relevant to their specific health issue or diagnosis
- Don’t underestimate the value of preventive education. Let patients know what they might be at risk for before illness develops, or put together a simple preventive recommendations checklist that provides the basics for good health (such as frequency of screenings, flu shots, check-ups, etc.)
- Leverage technology to improve both patient engagement and satisfaction with the DocResponse platform which allows patients to accurately get an online diagnosis, receive follow up information related to health issues, and access a full suite of interactive preventive tools and recommendations based on age and gender.
Does your organization have a unique patient education program? We would love to hear about your success. Please share with us in the comments below or on social!