19 February 2014
Author: The ExecuSearch Group
There are a number of ways to ensure that your patients are staying healthy and avoiding rehospitalization: hiring Care Managers and Coordinators to ease transitions from hospitalization to discharge, implementing telehealth technology to keep patients informed, and bringing on Nurse Practitioners to balance out Physician shortages, to name a few. However, a recent report by Fierce Healthcare has stated that while healthcare providers may be doing all they can to guide patients through their care plans, many patients—especially the newly insured—are still facing rehospitalization risks. The reason? Healthcare illiteracy. In other words, many newly-insured patients aren’t thoroughly educated on the services they now have access to—a problem that can be remedied by hiring healthcare professionals with communication skills and the ability to educate patients on available resources. For those who were previously uninsured and had no experience with doctor visits, the idea of visiting physicians for minor issues or even regular check-ups may be foreign to them. Instead, many are likely to wait until a more serious problem arises and take a trip to the Emergency Room. This, of course, is something the Affordable Care Act (ACA) strives to avoid—and can be prevented with the right healthcare professionals. Still, despite the ACA’s efforts, one study by Fierce Healthcare found that Emergency Room visits have skyrocketed by 40% since the surge of newly-insured patients. If you find healthcare illiteracy to be an issue in your facility, consider placing more emphasis on soft skills such as communication and interpersonal skills in your hiring efforts. For example, hiring staff with bilingual skills and knowledge of various cultures can help your facility ensure all patients are on the same page—regardless of their ethnic background. Should such healthcare professionals be hired and trained to assess and provide guidance to patients, the number of rehospitalizations can be driven down as a result. Furthermore, communication amongst staff is important as well, as the patient is the one ultimately affected by miscommunication. As we’ve said before, it’s been estimated by The Institute for Health Care Improvement that 30-50% of healthcare spending in the United States is wasteful: caused by inefficiency, lack of proactivity, and poor communication. We encourage clients and candidates alike at The Execu|Search Group to give more weight to soft skills, as they can not only ensure better cultural fit but expedite workflow and increase efficiency amongst colleagues. Through recent changes to healthcare, such as telehealth implementation, the industry has been striving for better communication as a whole. Bringing on the right staff who can help push that goal forward is the first step to a successful transition.