Thousands of Michigan residents will have a better chance of avoiding readmission to the hospital thanks to a groundbreaking new collaboration between three of the state’s healthcare leaders.
Based on SHM’s Project BOOST (Better Outcomes for Older Adults through Safe Transitions) model, the collaborative program will be managed by the University of Michigan in collaboration with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The Michigan Blues provide and administer health benefits to 4.7 million Michigan residents.
Project BOOST helps hospitals reduce readmission rates by providing them with proven resources and expert mentoring to optimize the discharge transition process, enhance patient and family education practices, and improve the flow of information between inpatient and outpatient providers. Project BOOST was developed through a grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation. Earlier in the year, the program recruited 15 Michigan sites to participate. Training begins in May.
Each improvement team will be assigned a mentor to coach them through the process of planning, implementing, and evaluating Project BOOST at their site. Program participants will receive face-to-face training, monthly coaching sessions with their mentors, and a comprehensive toolkit to implement Project BOOST. Sites also participate in an online peer learning and collaboration network.
“This kind of innovative, targeted program benefits both the patient and the healthcare provider by establishing better communication between all parties,” says Scott Flanders, MD, FHM, associate professor and director of hospital medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and SHM president.
To Flanders, it’s no coincidence that hospitalists are taking the lead in improving hospital discharges. “Readmissions are a pervasive but preventable problem,” he says. “Hospitalists are uniquely positioned to provide leadership within the hospital, to promote positive, system-based changes that improve patient satisfaction, and promote collaboration between hospitalists and primary-care physicians.”
In addition to being preventable, readmissions are costly, draining the resources, time, and energy of the patient, PCPs, and hospitals. Research in the April 2009 New England Journal of Medicine indicates that 20% of hospitalized patients are readmitted to the hospital within a month of their discharge.1 Nationally, readmissions cost Medicare $17.4 billion each year.1
Prior to the program’s launch in Michigan, SHM recruited and mentored Project BOOST sites independently. However, like many productive relationships in a hospital, Project BOOST in Michigan depends on collaboration between experts.