RT survey reveals communication gap

Sunday, October 30, 2011

IRVING, Texas - When it comes to reducing hospital readmissions, communication between hospitals and homecare providers will play a key role. But a recent survey of respiratory therapists reveals they have a long way to go.

"At this point, there isn't a lot of joint effort between hospital RTs and homecare RTs," said Greg Spratt, homecare chair for the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC).

Spratt recently surveyed respiratory therapists to get a baseline of information for his "Hospital to Home" program, which seeks to educate hospital and home-based RTs on how to work together to reduce readmissions.

It's got to start with communication, he said.

"In three out of four hospitals, the hospital RT does not currently communicate with the home care RT before, during or after discharge," said Spratt. "However, 12% said there was some kind of joint effort to reduce readmissions, which was a bit of a positive surprise."

The biggest barrier to communication: lack of a defined pathway for cooperative management.

"They're saying, 'Maybe we'd like to talk, but nobody's sure how to make that happen,'" said Spratt. "There's nothing difficult about any of these things. It's just a matter of someone taking initiative."

The survey also asked about awareness of changes in readmission policies and factors that RTs believe contribute to patient readmissions.