By Inhealthcare
Case Studies 4 March 2015

Patients attending the day surgical unit receive an automated telephone call the day after discharge, enabling the discharge liaison nurse to efficiently identify those at risk of readmission.

Background and objectives

County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust (CDDFT) were keen to expand the use of technology to deliver quality care and support patients post-discharge in order to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions in line with the 3 Million Lives strategy.

With one part time discharge liaison nurse responsible for telephoning all patients that requested a follow up call after discharge, the process was time consuming. A more effective and efficient way of contacting patients was required to alleviate pressures and enhance patient care.

The pilot project – surgical discharge / post surgery follow up service

(11th December 2013 – 24th January 2014)

The pilot project was sponsored by the acute surgical group clinical director and the associate chief operating officer to deliver an automated phone call service following the discharge of 100 patients. The service began on 11th December and completed 24th January 2014 at Ward 11 at Darlington Memorial Hospital, led by the telehealth programme manager, ward sister, acting ward sister and the discharge liaison nurse.

Patients were followed up with a series of 5 clinically determined safety questions via an automated telephone call. This data was then used to determine those at risk of readmission. This enabled the discharge liaison nurse to efficiently focus time on patients that needed their care indicated by clinical alerts with pre-set parameters.

The call has provided me with reassurance and support.

A patient using the service
76% did not require any further support

76 per cent of patients enrolled on to the service did not require any further support following the initial automated phone call, saving 25 hours of nursing time.

9% required further support

Nine per cent of patients required further support and advice. These patients were dealt with more efficiently within two hours of receiving the call by the discharge liaison nurse.

1% of test group admitted to hospital

Out of the 100 patients who took part in the pilot project only one patient was readmitted to hospital due to an issue unrelated to the original procedure.

Great patient feedback

Patient feedback showed that the service was quick, clear, concise and asked appropriate questions. One patient using the service said: “The call has provided me with reassurance and support.”

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