Unplanned readmissions in hospitals are indications of safety and quality issues with that particular health institution. Although this is a national health issue, available data show that many of these readmissions are preventable. In the United States, for instance, there are laws in place to curb readmissions. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been mandated by the Affordable Care Act to penalize those health care facilities that report excessive readmissions. In this financial year alone, more than 50% of US hospitals will miss out on their full payments to Medicare patients because of their readmission records (Considine et al., 2018). These penalties are meant to lower the costs of treatment and improve the quality of health care. The issue of unplanned readmissions to the hospital is reflected in various ways through the four core competencies of professional education.
Over the last ten years, the United States health care sector has grappled with the idea of improving patient outcomes and patient safety. Health care institutions that record a high number of unplanned readmissions and adverse mortality rates are considered to be performing poorly when it comes to health care provision. Up to $17 billion is lost every year due to medical errors related to unplanned readmissions (Wang et al., 2016). This is a testament that unplanned readmission is a national health crisis in the US. However, the majority of the efforts designed to address this anomaly are done independently without the involvement of state agencies.
One of the most efficient ways that have been pursued in trying to address unplanned readmissions is through taking stock of the most common ailments that usually result in readmissions. Since the year 2009, pneumonia, myocardial infarction, and heart failure have led to the list of diseases registering unplanned readmissions (Considine et al., 2018). Knee and hip replacement procedures joined the list four years later (Considine et al., 2018). The identification of this data helps in allocating sufficient resources and personnel toward the care of patients with such ailments to avoid readmissions. Another way of addressing the unplanned readmissions crisis is through the enforcement of penalties. The penalties are based on a standardized calculation procedure that takes into account a 30-day readmission rate of a hospital. However, the most efficient approach to addressing this is to train health care professionals on the most recommended procedures and equip them with the four core competencies of interprofessional education. These include professionalism, leadership, communication, and responsibilities. Indeed, healthcare professionals sit at the heart of every healthcare system. Without them, no meaningful designs or executions can be achieved within the system. Therefore, health care professionals must be adequately prepared for the most important task of preventing unplanned readmissions.
The topic, Patient Safety Quality of Care to 30-day Unplanned Readmission, impacts the four competencies of interprofessional education. First, professionalism occupies a central position in any health care system and practice. As one of the core competencies in health care, professionalism demands all practitioners to display expertise and competency in their conduct. One must maintain a steady composure when confronted with challenging situations. While at the workplace, a professional health care practitioner must model an ethical and accountable demeanor in addition to encouraging and demonstrating lifelong learning. Since the field of health care is rapidly evolving, healthcare practitioners are required to be always prepared to adapting new professional ways (World Health Organization, 2016). This involves a willingness to constantly acquire and disseminate knowledge even as they promote professional development among the members of their teams.
The increase in unplanned readmissions in hospitals presents challenges to interprofessional practitioners. Against this backdrop, it is apparent that student health care professionals require a learning environment that nurtures interaction among various disciplines. In an ideal situation, this takes place alongside the process of acquiring knowledge and skills, both interprofessional and interdisciplinary (O’Keefe et al., 2017). Many institutions that train on health care provision have fundamental disciplinary competencies that do not address particular interprofessional learning competencies but rather contextual interprofessionalism.
Health care organizations can only be run successfully if the practitioners working there possess complementary abilities and relevant skills and knowledge. There are five key competencies under which these skills are grouped. They include leadership, professionalism, business, communication, and knowledge. The competencies must be applied on a daily basis by successful health care practitioners. Indeed, health care is a complex and dynamic field that requires professionals to be always adaptive and flexible. Training helps these professionals to be robustly competent to handle different intricacies when it comes to patient care provision (Skochelak et al., 2017). However, healthcare professionals also need to be business savvy in addition to possessing interpersonal skills that are essential in managing healthcare organizations.
To successfully relate with different cadres within a healthcare institution, healthcare practitioners must learn how to communicate effectively. Within a student’s health care environment, there are patients, vendors, industry leaders, physicians, and investors. Each of the staff members has different interests within a health care system. This is why one must be equipped with the necessary communication skills as a tool for relationship management. It is important to note, however, that communication is not just the possession of oratory skills. It also requires one to embrace the ability to write, present, and listen to information effectively (McLaughlin et al., 2017). The ultimate goal of any healthcare communication, however, lies in its adherence to organizational values.
The health care environment of students is also defined by leadership skills. Indeed, a health care environment offers students an opportunity to manage diverse groups of people, particularly patients. However, leading does not imply that one boss his or her way around. True leadership entails demonstrating character and class and, more importantly, living by example. As a good leader, a student is expected to recognize the personal priorities and needs of fellow students and other health care practitioners and to foster teamwork as well. It is expected of a student health care practitioner to encourage others to adhere to health care organizational principles and values (Ledlow & Stephens, 2018). Talented leaders must be sensitive to their organizational environment and must be willing to utilize their organizational strategies for change-facilitation.
The students must also possess sufficient knowledge about their healthcare environment and system if they are to be successful in promoting professionalism. The main areas of knowledge within a health care system include matters to do with insurance, payouts, finance, and purchasing. Others are human resources and operations, the rights of patients, risk management, and organizational policy, as well as the responsibilities and roles of different staff members. The health care environment is indeed in constant flux, particularly amidst medical research, insurance laws, and government regulations (Clark et al., 2016). Hence, student professionals must ensure that they are always at par with the latest health care knowledge.
In conclusion, there is no denying the important role played by health care professionals in any setting. To ensure that they are adequately prepared to aid in the prevention of unplanned readmissions in hospitals, it is vital that they embrace the four competencies of interprofessional education.
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