HCTW News: Boston hospital takes action on preventing ED patient readmissions

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, April 3, 2009

Preventing patient readmissions in the emergency department (ED) is important for many hospitals. And Boston University Medical Center (BMC) isn’t waiting for patients to return—it is taking action with one word: RED.

BMC recently launched a new program called Re-Engineered Hospital Discharge (RED), which was created following a study of 370 ED patients. Participants in the study received customized education from nurses before discharge on how to:

  • Make follow-up appointments with their physician: More than 94% of the participants left the ED with a follow-up appointment compared to 35% of patients who did not participate.
  • Confirm medication routines: A pharmacist from the medical center also contacted the participants at least two days after discharge to discuss medication plans and answer further questions.
  • Understand their diagnoses with a personalized eight-page instruction booklet: The content featured in the booklet varies for each patient depending on their situation, medication, and follow-up appointments.

According to Brian Jack, MD, head of the project, the program is successful because staff members in the ED prepare patients for discharge; teach them about their diagnosis; review their medications and how to take them; and review their follow-up visit.


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