Feature May 19, 2021 John Bernot, MD

Overcome the painful costs of readmissions

Improving the perioperative patient experience can help your practice lower readmission rates and increase revenues.

Senior knee patient with doctor and care giver

Lowering hospital readmissions after a knee or hip replacement surgery is the shared responsibility of patients and their care team. 

At an average cost of $11,000 per orthopedic surgery readmission1, it’s critical for orthopedic surgeons and case managers to take an active role in coaching patients to an optimal recovery.

Keep reading to learn more about the cost of high readmission rates and how your practice can improve patient outcomes while maximizing revenues. 

How to prevent readmissions

Here are the top three reasons patients are readmitted to the hospital after a knee or hip replacement surgery:

  1. Infections
  2. Uncontrolled pain
  3. Surgical revision is necessary because post-op instructions were not followed

While you cannot prevent every readmission, many can be avoided with more effective and efficient communication that improves pre- and post-op task adherence

Focusing efforts in this area may help you reduce the cost of readmissions between 10 and 20 percent. For a practice that does 500 procedures per year, this can save upwards of $40,000 in readmission costs alone. 

Lowering readmissions is a business imperative for your practice

While the cost of high readmission rates is not just measured in dollars, the downstream consequences of poor patient outcomes, and by extension the overall perioperative patient experience, can impact your bottom line. 

Poor patient outcomes also impact your orthopedic practice in the following ways:

  • Fewer patient referrals and retention
  • Lower patient satisfaction ratings
  • Weak social reputation in the community

Further, low ratings on quality metrics may result in additional financial penalties and lower reimbursements. 

Use our ROI calculator for a complete picture of the financial and intangible benefits of improving the perioperative experience for your patients.   

Take responsibility for the perioperative patient experience

Lowering readmission rates requires a joint partnership between patients and their care teams. Surgeons and case managers have a critical role to play in inspiring action and motivating their patients. 

Connected health solutions for patient engagement open communication and increase access to education and health literacy. 

Improving the perioperative patient experience lowers incidents of readmission while increasing the financial health of your orthopedic practice. 

Learn how a virtual perioperative assistant can improve task adherence that lowers readmission rates.

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  1. Enhanced recovery pathways in orthopedic surgery. J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol.