Recording Instructions Improves Discharge and Satisfaction

Recording Patient Discharge Instructions to Improve Communication

Cullman Regional Medical Center
1912 Alabama 157
Cullman, AL 35058

Since implementation of the Good to Go program, Cullman has seen a 15 percent decline in readmission rates for patients who received recorded discharge instructions and a 58 percent increase in HCAPS satisfaction scores.

Cullman Regional Medical Center is a 145-bed medical center that is owned and operated by the Health Care Authority of Cullman County and serves more than 150,000 residents in a six-county area of Alabama.

Cheryl Bailey, RN, BSN, MBA
Chief Nursing Officer & Vice President Patient Services
Cullman Regional Medical Center

Innovation Implementation:
Seeking to reduce 30-day readmissions rates, Cullman Regional Medical Center sought to improve communication and patient understanding at the point of discharge. Working with an existing technology vendor, Cullman implemented Good to Go, a program that records discharge instructions and other education materials.

Through the program, the nurse maintains the same discharge process as before—only now when discussing discharge instructions with a patient, the nurse takes an iPod Touch device into the room to record the discharge teaching. After the patient goes home, she or her caregivers can replay the recording to clarify what they heard, or listen to the full discharge encounter via a toll-free phone number or on a secure website.

Additionally, Cullman has begun to build out the patient website to include videos, downloads, and other collateral on the specific conditions patients are dealing with. For example, if a patient had a question about how to clean their wound or walk on crutches, they could get that from trusted and reliable source.

The recordings provide a further layer of accountability measures to the discharge process, both for staff and patients. For staff this means a record of their discharge processes that can be used for administrative purposes and training. For patients, this means ensuring there is a full record of their discharge instructions and what they need to do when they get home.

Recording discharges also allow the hospital to implement several additional value-added interventions, including a standardized script that builds in prompts reminding patients not to forget their personal items and a thank you message for choosing Cullman. Both have positively impacted patient experience scores.

Since implementing the program, Cullman has seen a 15 percent decline in readmission rates for patients who received recorded discharge instructions and a 63 percent increase in patient satisfaction HCAHPS scores. Because of its success the hospital has expanded it to other units and is working with nursing homes and post-acute facilities in the community to educate them about it.

Recording Discharge Instructions

Improving Communication

Watch how Cullman Regional Medical Center helps improve patient satisfaction and reduces avoidable readmissions.

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