Digital Strategies for Educating Veteran Patients and Reducing Readmissions 

How a Northeast VA Medical Center used Get Well to engage and educate Veteran patients, while reducing hospital-wide readmission rates.

Ian McWilliams (BSN, RN), Senior Client Success Manager

Only three patients left to chart on. Is it time to give that PRN? Room 5 needs a dressing change before the next shift. Need to change that IV. Another call bell. Looks like the family decided to pull life support in room 3. Have a discharge. Getting an admission. New diabetes diagnosis, have to do insulin education. Rapid response called. Shift has been over for 30 minutes, still haven’t charted. 

How many of our shifts have looked like that? If you had to triage those tasks, what would you let fall to the wayside?

Probably the patient education. It’s the least life threatening at the moment, until the patient is readmitted with any of the myriad complications from the disease.

In today’s fast paced healthcare environment, we sacrifice long-term outcomes because we have no choice but to focus on the immediate. With evolving Point of Care technology, we no longer have to make these tradeoffs. One Northeast VA Medical Center utilized Get Well to largely automate patient education, resulting in more time spent at the bedside for clinicians, and less time spent in the hospital for the Veteran. The strategies below helped them scale support for both patients and the care teams:

  1. Integrate patient engagement and education into the EMR: Get Well integrates with your facility’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR), allowing staff to order video education directly from the chart, to be deployed to the bedside in real time.
  1. Partner with staff to drive patient engagement with education: This VA Medical Center used a tag-team approach to ordering education, where night shift RNs ordered one pertinent, diagnosis-related education video per Veteran, per shift. Day shift staff then encouraged the Veteran to view the prescribed education during rounding.
  1. Reduce printing and charting time: With Get Well, there is no printing out packets of information to review – the patient has already watched the education at their own pace. No redundant charting either – Get Well has already recorded it in the EMR. The clinician is available to answer questions and reinforce what was learned because technology did everything else. That 30 minutes you spent after your shift catching up? You can have that precious time back.

Let’s talk numbers. What did this simple, easy-to-replicate process achieve for the staff and Veterans?

  • 72.7% increase in completed health education
  • 21.8% reduction in hospital-wide readmission rate

This hospital averaged a total of 16.6 readmissions per month before implementing the patient education ordering process with Get Well. Given the average cost of one readmission for healthcare facilities is $15,2001, a 21.8% reduction in hospital-wide readmission rates resulted in cost-avoidance of approximately $54K per month. With a 25% attribution model, Get Well saved this VA Medical Center $13,680 per month, with potential of $648K annually.

People, process, and technology not only promote top of license care by reducing clinician burden, it also empowers the patient in their healthcare journey by increasing health literacy. So now, there’s no need for tradeoffs – both patients and clinicians win when these strategies are used effectively.

Get Well is honored to enable the continuous delivery and improvement of quality care for Veteran patients with our VA Medical Center partners. To learn more about Get Well’s solutions for Veteran care, visit our site: