Area Hospitals Devising Ways to Keep Patients Out

It sounds counterintuitive: Improve your business by keeping customers out. But that’s exactly what some hospitals are doing.

The Seton Healthcare Family, the largest hospital operator in Central Texas, has a five-year goal of reducing hospitalizations that includes programs that steer patients toward care that is less expensive than at a hospital, said Seton executive Greg Hartman. Seton operates several programs that help hospital staffers communicate with chronically ill people to see that they follow up with primary care doctors and take other steps to prevent another hospital admission.

“So many admissions in the hospital are an admission the system failed that person,” said Hartman, president of University Medical Center Brackenridge and Seton Medical Center Austin.

Other hospital systems, including Scott & White and St. David’s HealthCare, said they also have strategies to keep people from filling their emergency departments and hospital rooms, although Seton is publicly touting the idea. Continue reading