Tackling the Challenge of Readmissions Rates with CarePICS

The risk of cardiovascular events and death for critical limb ischemia (CLI) patients can lead to not only a lower quality of life but financial hardship for both patients and physicians.

“National readmission rates can be as high as 30% for CLI patients,” says Lorie Henderson, administrator and clinical director for the PULSE Amputation Prevention Center in El Paso, Texas. “These high readmission rates are costly for hospitals.”

PULSE has tackled this challenge with continued prevention efforts and improved treatment strategies optimized by utilizing CarePICS. Henderson says the virtual wound care platform has been key to mitigating CLI-related morbidity and mortality at the clinic.

Hospital Readmissions Hurt Hospitals

Readmissions cost hospitals in the vicinity of $26 billion annually, says the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“Hospital readmissions are a leading healthcare concern, both in terms of implications for the quality of care provided to hospitalized patients and for the healthcare costs associated with readmission,” say Dr. Audrey J. Weiss and Dr. H. Joanna Jiang. “Some readmissions, such as those for cancer and related treatment, are expected and planned, but many readmissions are not.”

CLI patients are some of the readmissions that are difficult for healthcare organizations to incorporate into budgets.

“Readmission for CLI patients can indicate a significantly higher risk of amputation and an increased length of stay of up to 12–15 days,” says Henderson. “The major causes of CLI patient readmission are missed follow-up appointments and a breakdown of communication.”

Fortunately for PULSE and many other hospitals, medical practices and clinics, CarePICS offers a robust solution for supporting CLI patients and healthcare staff.

CarePICS Eliminates Trips to the Hospital

Readmission rates have dropped down to 7% since PULSE adopted CarePICS three years ago. The average stay for CLI patients has also been reduced to 5–6 days.

PULSE has been able to bring these numbers down by utilizing CarePICS’ robust capabilities, which include:

  • Creating connections across all disciplines and guidance provided to patients throughout the entire healthcare journey
  • Communicating between departments via HIPAA-compliant messaging and image sharing
  • Adding notes on cases, which streamlines the communication flow
  • Real-time consulting with specialists brought on during an appointment if a patient shows symptoms other than vascular-related

CarePICS’ greatest benefit, however, is eliminating the need for a trip to the hospital.

‘“Phone triage” is how we keep CLI patients healthy and at home and away from exposure to potential pathogens,” says Henderson. ‘CarePICS’ incredible telemedicine functionalities facilitate check-ins and monitoring and tracking the healing process. We only direct patients to the hospital if a wound isn’t progressing well or has become infected.’

At that point the readmission process is incredibly simplified by a powerful team-based approach. CarePICS can help patients plan their stay and the length of time they’ll be in the hospital. They can then be admitted directly and bypass the emergency room.

Throughout the patient’s stay, CarePICS’ centralizes all consults, studies, prescriptions and more for easy access at the click of a button. The secure, innovative technology can create and send patient reports to both attending physicians and specialists. This integrated and optimized workflow increases efficiency and reduces clerical work.

“The only hurdle so far has been getting patients to sign up for the app,” Henderson says with a laugh. “All patients have different bandwidth for tech. Our doctors have to make sure a patient signs up before they leave an appointment!”

For more information

Your healthcare organization needs a set of strategies to address reducing readmission rates. Visit the CarePICS website to learn how the virtual care hub can help overcome this growing healthcare issue.

About CarePICS

CarePICS® is a HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform designed to manage vascular disease and wound care patients. CarePICS enables virtual consults, telehealth visits, clinical image reporting, and automated medical supply ordering.