Confirming a correct, early diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is essential to reducing risks and complications for patients and alleviating resource utilization and readmissions for hospitals. In 2017, Long Island Community Hospital started an initiative to decrease readmissions by identifying their multi-visit patients with COPD early.
The hospital established a multidisciplinary COPD team to determine steps for improving management of discharged COPD patients. The team performed a gap analysis comparing current practices to best practices. A notification system was implemented to alert team members when a COPD multi-visit patient entered the facility. The patients were admitted and monitored in a COPD-focused unit. Higher-level issues were escalated to determine patient needs, such as home oxygen, medication and transportation.
Understanding the issues that led to multi-visits and establishing specialty teams with a linear workflow and objectives provided the improvements necessary to reduce admission/readmissions. Reports of all multi-visit patients are generated weekly and follow-up calls are conducted to speak with patients upon their discharge from the emergency department or inpatient unit.
In 2017, there were 189 admissions for COPD. Forty-seven patients (24.87%) qualified as a 30-day readmission. As of September 2018, there have been 109 admissions for COPD with 17 patients (15.60%) qualifying as a readmission. To date, there has been a 9.3% decrease in readmission rates related to COPD.
For more information, contact Kevin T. Vespe, BS, RRT, manager, respiratory care services, at (631) 687-4125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.