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Automated telephone follow-up programs after hospital discharge: Do older adults engage with these programs?

HumanInsight Automated telephone follow-up programs after hospital discharge: Do older adults engage with these programs?

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022 Jun 29. doi: 10.1111/jgs.17939. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Health systems have developed automated telephone call programs to screen and triage patients' post-hospital discharge issues and concerns. The aims of our study were to determine whether and how older adults engage with automated post-hospital discharge telephone programs and to describe the prevalence of patient-reported post-discharge issues.

METHODS: We identified all telephone calls made by an urban academic medical center as part of a post-hospital discharge program between May 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019. The program used automated telephone outreach to patients or their caregivers that included 11 distinct steps 3 days post-discharge. All adults discharged home from the hospital, were included, and we categorized patients into ≤64 years, 65-84 years, and ≥85 years age groups. We then compared call reach rate, completeness of 11-step calls and patient-reported issues between age groups.

RESULTS: Eighteen thousand and seventy six patients were included. More patients 65-84 years old were reached compared to patients ≤64 years old (84.3% vs. 78.9%, AME 5.52%; 95%CI: 3.58%-7.45%). Completion rates of automated calls for those ≥85 years old were also high. Patients ≥85 years old were more likely to have questions about their follow-up plans and need assistance scheduling appointments compared to those ≤64 years old (19.0% vs. 11.9%, AME 7.0% (95%CI: 2.7%-11.3%).

CONCLUSION: Post-hospital automated telephone calls are feasible and effective at reaching older adults. Future work should focus on improving discharge communication to ensure older adults are aware of their follow-up plan and appointments.

PMID:35767470 | DOI:10.1111/jgs.17939

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