By Jack Craver
The least a guy can do after cutting your heart open is check to see how you’re doing.
Indeed, a recent study suggests that patients recover better from heart surgery
if they receive a couple house calls from a physician’s assistant in the week following the operation.
The study, which followed 1,185 heart surgery patients in the weeks after their operations, found that those who received visits from a medical professional on the second and fifth days after leaving the hospital were 41 percent less likely to be readmitted to the hospital in the next month.
Keep in mind, the sample size was relatively small. For a bit of context, 10 percent of those who received the home visits found themselves back at the hospital within the month, compared to 17 percent of those who didn’t get a visit.
But if the effect of home visits
is as great as the study suggests, it means that providers could not only produce better outcomes for patients, but save everybody oodles of money. While it cost $23,500 to make visits to the 363 patients who received them, the study estimates that those visits saved nearly $1 million in hospitalization costs.
The study does not suggest that any house call will do. Those making the visits were cardiac specialists who understand the issues individual patients were facing.
“Unlike standard visiting nurses, our PAs knew each patient personally and understood all of the pertinent issues of the patient’s medical history,” Dr. John P. Nabagiez of Staten Island University Hospital in New York explained in a news release. “They also knew the patient’s individual postoperative course prior to discharge, so they entered the patient’s home already knowing the concerns, if any, of the surgeon and the patient.”
“It is essential for patients to comply with all prescribed medications and physical rehabilitation after heart surgery, and two house calls in the first week after discharge helped patients remain focused on these goals,” he added. “Complications can arise in the first week after surgery, and these initial home visits can help diagnose problems earlier, which can keep patients out of the emergency department. We found that making these two visits is cost effective and keeps patients on the road to recovery, while also reducing hospital readmissions.”
Originally posted on BenefitsPro.com