redhospitalIs your hospital trying to improve its 30-day readmissions rate? Deconstructing your discharge plan may be the answer. Consider Project RED (Re-Engineered Discharge), piloted by Boston University Medical Center and funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The program has already helped nearly 300 U.S. hospitals improve their discharge processes, resulting in significant readmission reductions at many sites.

The re-engineered discharge process involves improved coordination of care efforts, lead by a nurse discharge advocate or educator. The discharge educator walks the patient through an after-hospital care program (AHCP) that outlines every component of care, from follow up tests and services to what to do if problems come up. All medications are reconciled and follow up appointments are made. The educator provides patient instructions using language the patient can understand, and then assesses the patient for comprehension. Once at home, the patient also receives a follow up call within 72 hours of discharge to ensure their care is on track.

Research data from AHRQ shows that Project RED decreases 30-day hospital readmissions by 25%, decreases emergency department use from 24% to 16%, and improves patient outcomes while lowering hospital costs. Interested in learning more? The AHRQ offers a comprehensive four-part Project RED online training curriculum, as well as an implementation tool kit for this readmission reduction plan.