New Study Finds Digital Patient Engagement Delivers Cost-Savings in Reduced LOS and Identifying At-Risk Patients

Updated on February 14, 2019
BetsyWeaver photo copy

Cutting-edge findings from a new study prove that early, mobile patient engagement from diagnosis through post-care generates significant cost-savings and better patient outcomes.

Conducted by a U.S.-based four-hospital system in collaboration with a leading health engagement solutions provider, UbiCare, the study researched over 2,000 patients receiving email and text notifications about their care from diagnosis through recovery when undergoing total hip or knee replacement surgery. All cost metrics, including readmissions, discharge to home and day-of-surgery cancellations, were positively impacted. Plus, statistically significant conclusions are:

  1. Significant cost-savings and efficiencies gained for hospitals
    1. 25% of a day reduction in LOS for hip replacement patients
    2. 13% of a day reduction in LOS for knee replacement patients
    3. 50% reduction in emergency room visits by hip replacement patients who were highly engaged

  2. Early identification of at-risk patients
    1. High engagement correlated with low risk
    2. Hospitals can now quickly identify patients who require additional support and attention
  3. High, equal usage across insurance types
  4. 71% of patients were highly engaged, regardless of whether publicly (Medicare/Medicaid) or privately insured
  5. Results were unrelated to insurance type, showing that digital patient engagement before, during and after designated procedures is effective across populations

“For many years, there has been anecdotal data to support the effectiveness of patient engagement programs. These findings are evidence-based proof that digital connections throughout the patient care episode work,” says Betsy Weaver, Ed.D., CEO of UbiCare. “Education, alerts, reminders and notifications sent via email and text do change patient behaviors, resulting in better health outcomes and improved cost metrics for hospitals.”

A leader of patient engagement systems since 2002, Weaver points out that these new study findings align with the value-based care goals of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS’ Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) initiative rewards hospitals that reduce cost and complication rates (and penalizes those that don’t).

“We know total hip and knee replacements are among the most common inpatient surgeries across the U.S., and the most common for Medicare beneficiaries, requiring lengthy recovery and rehabilitation periods averaging $16,500 to $33,000 per patient” adds Weaver. “It is imperative hospitals and healthcare providers find ways to improve patient care and outcomes but still cut costs. Patient engagement programs are a proven solution toward this goal.” 

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