4 Impactful Strategies for Reducing Hospital Readmissions Among Employees

Surgeon With Digital Tablet Visiting Senior Male Patient In Hospital Bed In Geriatric Unit

Hospital readmissions are a top concern in healthcare. Readmissions impact several areas, including care quality, a patient’s quality of life, and the financial health of the hospital and the patient. 

Unfortunately, hospital readmissions also affect employers, as poor employee healthcare can lead to additional costs and decreased work efficiency. Let’s explore how hospital readmissions impact costs and some effective ways to navigate this problem.

How Hospital Readmissions Impact Costs

Some hospital readmissions are expected and planned for, such as those for cancer and the associated treatments. However, many hospital readmissions aren’t planned and result in hefty costs.

According to a study published in 2021, there were 3.8 million 30-day hospital readmissions in 2018, resulting in a 14 percent readmission rate and average cost of $15,200 per person. The conditions associated with the highest amount of readmissions were septicemia, heart failure, diabetes mellitus with complications, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pneumonia.

When employees are readmitted to the hospital, employers feel the effects of their absence. Additionally, it can be difficult for employees to perform their jobs effectively when they eventually return to the workplace. All of this leads to increased costs for employers and decreased workplace efficiency.

Effective Strategies for Reducing Hospital Readmissions

Hospital readmissions impact both employers and employees, making this an especially pressing problem. Keep reading to learn four effective strategies that can help reduce readmissions.

1. Identifying High-Risk Members

The first step in reducing readmissions is identifying the highest-risk patients. From there, engagement techniques can be targeted toward these individuals.

For example, individuals with high-risk conditions that result in hospital readmissions (e.g., septicemia, heart failure, diabetes mellitus with complications, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pneumonia) may be identified first. However, flags other than medical conditions should also be evaluated, such as social determinants of health (SDOH).

2. Addressing SDOH

SDOH are the conditions in which people are born, worship, live, work, learn, play, and age, and these conditions affect a wide range of quality-of-life outcomes, risks, and health factors. The five domains of SDOH include economic stability, health access and quality, social and community context, education access and quality, and neighborhood and built environment.

SDOH are a large contributor to health inequities and disparities. For example, if an individual doesn’t have access to healthy foods, they’re less likely to have good nutrition, increasing the risk of conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. If they have limited transportation access, they may be unable to adhere to their follow-up schedule. And if they have a low income, they may not be able to afford the medications and at-home care that are part of their post-discharge plan. 

There are several ways of addressing SDOH, including building post-discharge care plans centered around these considerations and providing price transparency tools that enable members to find care at a Fair Price™.

Learn how to choose a healthcare navigation tool that’s right for your company. 

3. Boosting Employee Engagement in Healthcare

It’s hard for people to implement new habits, especially around a complex topic such as healthcare. Engagement tools can help change employees’ healthcare behaviors by steering them away from high-cost, low-quality providers and redirecting them toward high-value providers.

For example, Healthcare Bluebook’s Go Green to Get Green engagement program uses gamification techniques to educate members and rewards quality-driven, cost-effective healthcare decisions with health savings account (HSA) contributions, wellness points, or a personal check. Remember: The more engaged an employee is with their healthcare, the more motivated they are to make healthier decisions.

4. Encouraging Shopping for Healthcare

Many members may not realize they can shop for healthcare or even know where to look. It’s essential to provide tools that make this process simple. 

Price transparency tools can help members identify and select providers that enable them to receive high-quality care at a Fair Price. Healthcare Bluebook’s color-coded cost and quality solution makes it easy for members to find high-quality, lower-cost providers. Not only does this decrease benefit costs, but it also increases the likelihood of employees choosing high-quality care while reducing the potential of hospital readmissions.

How to Find a Healthcare Navigation Solution

Healthcare navigation solutions can go a long way toward helping employees choose high-quality care and reducing hospital readmissions, but there’s a lot to consider when choosing a solution. Find what you should consider when deciding on a healthcare navigation solution for your company, how to engage employees, and more in our guide, How to Choose a Healthcare Navigation Solution That’s Right for Your Organization: Four Questions to Ask.

eBook cover of How to Choose a Healthcare Navigation Solution That's Right for Your Organization