How To Keep Quality High With Limited ResourcesRead Time: 4 minutes
Rural areas have long faced challenges in accessing quality healthcare. There is often only one community hospital offering healthcare services to these populations. Providing quality care is crucial. However, keeping quality high while working with limited resources is a struggle in any industry. In healthcare, reducing inappropriate admissions is vital.
Factors for rural hospitals
Reducing inappropriate admissions is a crucial way to lower costs and improve efficiencies. Rural hospitals have unique challenges with appropriate admissions. Often, rural areas have smaller populations, a payer mix of mostly Medicare patients, and a patient base that lacks a relationship with a primary care provider. All of these factors make reducing inappropriate admissions even more challenging.
Reducing repeat admissions
Lack of proper follow-up care puts many patients back in the emergency department (ED) unnecessarily. This problem is especially prevalent in rural areas, where people often depend on the local community hospital for all healthcare needs. However, many patients who receive treatment in the ED recover appropriately with follow-up appointments with a primary care provider. In many rural hospitals, EDs have processes in place to help connect patients with primary care providers, whether these patients stay in the ED or not.
Explore remote strategies
Another strategy for reducing inappropriate admissions is to improve case management. Many rural hospitals are finding success with remote case management departments and telehealth services. These remote employees help to triage patients, ensuring that people are placed in the appropriate setting with the appropriate provider. A streamlined triage process improves efficiency and reduces overall costs by reducing inpatient admissions.
The game-changer in healthcare
Many rural hospitals struggle to reduce strain on primary care providers (PCPs). Often, these physicians and APPs round in the ED in the evening, even after spending a full day in the outpatient setting. Telehealth can play a game-changing role in rural healthcare. Remote case management reduces strain on these primary care providers by reducing the need for PCPs to round in the ED at all hours. Having a remote triage process can also reduce patient wait times, thereby increasing patient satisfaction scores at the same time.
An industry-wide issue
Across the healthcare industry, eliminating unnecessary admissions is a high priority. Improper and repeat admissions can contribute to unnecessary costs and inefficiencies. In rural areas, hospitals are especially concerned about keeping costs down. Start the conversation about how telehealth and remote case management can change the game in ED admission rates and rural healthcare.