Healthcare IT tools can reduce medical facility readmission rates

While recent reports have highlighted the benefits of healthcare IT when it comes to providing patient care in the form of eprescribing and electronic medical billing software, a new study suggests that technology could play a role in reducing the number of individuals who need to pursue additional medical care after a visit to a healthcare facility.

The study, which was released by the Preventing AVoidable Episodes (PAVE) project this December and known formally as the "Transitions of Care Survey Summary Report," found that 18 medical facilities in the Philadelphia area saw their 30-day same-hospital patient readmission rates drop by 7 percent because they used electronic medical records and other healthcare IT tools effectively.

"The project highlighted the need to improve the timeliness and the manner in which patient discharge information is transmitted to other providers, especially the primary care providers." Patricia Yurchick, a senior director at the Health Care Improvement Foundation, told InformationWeek Healthcare.

While the hospital primarily studied major area medical centers such as St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, St. Mary Medical Center and the Grand View Hospital, it provides a few lessons for smaller providers as well. For example, while the project fell short of its goal of reducing readmission rates by 10 percent, it still successfully showcased the benefits that healthcare IT investment can provide.

As a result, private practices and small medical facilities that are being bogged down by patients in need of constant care may want to reduce their workload through smart investments. These facilities may benefit the most by working with a consultant that can make suggestions on whether or not an investment in Lytec or Medisoft EMR software would be more beneficial for the organization, before then providing these tools to these facilities at affordable prices.