NP’s prevent patient readmissions

Researchers at Loyola University Health System  have shown that adding a nurse practitioner (NP) to an in-patient hospital surgical department can decrease post-operative emergency department (ED) visits. According to a study just published in Surgery, by improving the continuity in care and troubleshooting problems for patients, an NP can reduce ED visits. The addition of an NP also resulted in an improved use of resources and financial benefits for the health system.

NP’s are advanced practice registered nurses who have completed graduate-level education (either a Master’s or a Doctoral degree) and have a dramatically expanded scope of practice over the traditional RN role. Their core philosophy  is individualized care. Nurse practitioners focus on patients’ conditions as well as the effects of illness on the lives of  patients and their families and make prevention, wellness, and patient education their priorities.

The study analyzed 415 patient records one year before and one year after the NP joined the staff. The two groups were statistically similar in age, race, type of surgery, length of hospital stay and hospital readmissions. Patients were tracked after they were sent home from the hospital to determine how many unnecessarily returned to the ED (defined as an ED visit that did not result in an inpatient admission).

Mary Kay Larson, the nurse practitioner involved with this study, communicated with patients and coordinated their discharge plan. During this time, telephone conversations with patients increased by 64%; and visiting nurse, physical therapy or occupational therapy services increased from 25% before Larson joined the department to 39% after. Most importantly, these services resulted in 50% fewer unnecessary ED visits.

This study demonstrates the important role that nurse practitioners have in our increasingly complex health-care system,” said senior author Margo Shoup, MD, FACS, Division Director of Surgical Oncology, Loyola University Health System. “Hospitals must continue to adapt to the changing health-care environment. The addition of a nurse practitioner clearly represents a way that we can adjust to meet the increasing demands of patient care while we are being asked to do more with less.”

SRxA has long recognized the value of NP’s and physician assistants (PA’s) in both patient and peer-to-peer education. To help our clients gain access to this important and rapidly growing group of health professionals we have recently established an NP/PA group.   For more information, and to find out how you can leverage their expertise in your next project, contact us today.

Hospital readmissions on the rise

Word on Health was shocked to learn that 1 in 10 adult Medicaid patients who were hospitalized in 2007 for a medical condition, other than childbirth, had to be readmitted at least once within 30 days of their initial hospital stay.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality also reported that Medicaid patients are 70% more likely to be readmitted compared with their privately insured counterparts.

The number of underlying health problems appears to correlate with the frequency of readmission. For example, 14% of Medicaid patients with 3 or more underlying health problems were readmitted compared with 10% of those who had no other health problems.

These high hospital readmission rates have been drawing increasing attention from policymakers because they have a significant impact on health care costs. Additionally, they may reflect issues with the standards of health care provided in hospitals as well as a lack of discharge planning and outpatient follow-up.

SRxA has developed a number of innovative disease education and patient management programs specifically designed to:

  • improve health
  • increase adherence and compliance to medical advice and medications
  • decrease the health care burden to society.

Contact us today for further information.