Reduce Diabetes Readmissions with an Education Program that Follows Patients Home

Each year, over 5.5 million patients with diagnosed diabetes pass through a U.S. hospital.[1] Inpatient care for these patients has an annual price tag of $76 billion.[2] And over 20% of patients admitted to a U.S. hospital for diabetes complications (as a primary listed diagnosis) end up having an unplanned readmission to the hospital within 30 days.[3]

The good news is that research demonstrates that inpatient hospital education is associated with lower rates of 30-day hospital readmissions among patients with poor diabetes control.[4] Hospital patients with diabetes spend an average of 4.6 days as inpatients, which can represent a significant opportunity for hospitals to provide essential diabetes education that can prepare both patients and caregivers for a safe transition home.[5]

The American Association of Diabetes Educators recommends that inpatient diabetes education emphasizes “diabetes survival skills” such as meal planning, safe medication administration, blood glucose monitoring, and treating hypoglycemia, all topics that are essential in keeping patients in control of their blood glucose levels once they leave the hospital setting.[6]

Just as critical to preventing unnecessary readmissions is having the ability to follow the patient home with these resources. Clinical trials have demonstrated that people who receive diabetes education (versus “usual care” with no education) have lower A1C levels, a measure of long-term blood glucose control.[7] Beyond bedside education, it is essential to provide patients with a referral to a certified diabetes educator or to anaccredited diabetes self-management education (DSME) program at discharge.

The Wellness Network offers engaging and clinically-validated video programming that teaches diabetes survival skills and reinforces DSME teaching. This programming is available at the hospital bedside through our Patient Channel broadcast network, and can also be prescribed and tracked through the hospital EHR system using our proprietary. Track technology. Hospitals that subscribe to the Patient Channel can also give their patients continued access to a full library of diabetes video education after discharge via a patient portal that is accessible by both computers and wireless devices. 

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  1. CDC/NCHS, Division of Health Care Statistics, data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey and data from the National Health Interview Survey. Accessed 11/6/15.

  2. American Diabetes Association. Economic costs of diabetes in the U.S. in 2012. Diabetes Care. 2013 Apr;36(4):1033-46.

  3. Elixhauser A (AHRQ), Steiner C (AHRQ). Readmissions to U.S. Hospitals by Diagnosis, 2010. HCUP Statistical Brief #153. April 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

  4. Healy SJ, Black D, Harris C, Lorenz A, Dungan KM. Inpatient diabetes education is associated with less frequent hospital readmission among patients with poor glycemic control. Diabetes Care. 2013 Oct; 36(10):2960-7.

  5. CDC/NCHS National Hospital Discharge Survey, 2010. Average length of stay and days of care; number and rate of discharges by first listed diagnostic categories.

  6. American Association of Diabetes Educators. AADE Position Statement: Diabetes Inpatient Management. The Diabetes Educator. 2012. 38:142.

  7. McCulloch, DK. Initial management of blood glucose in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. UpToDate. Accessed 11/6/15.