According to the Pennsylvania Healthcare Cost Containment Council (PHC4), patients admitted to the hospital five or more times over a one-year period account for a large portion of the health care economy in Pennsylvania. In order to address the needs of these complex patients, Thomas Jefferson University’s Center for Interprofessional Education has teamed up with Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers. Together they aim to improve the health of the patients, lower the readmission rates and, in turn, may lower the amount of healthcare expenditures.
Thomas Jefferson University physician and program lead, Dr. Lauren Collins, told John George of the Philadelphia Business Journal, “The idea is to educate these patients to be better navigators of health care services, to be advocates for themselves and to help them with barriers that prevent access to care such as transportation — all to reduce hospitalizations and the over-utilization of service.”
The team at Jefferson comprises medical, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy and occupational therapy students. Collins said, “We want to improve the well-being of these patients who are tremendously underserved…The program also gives us the opportunity to learn much of health care today takes place outside of a clinical setting. We need to train a work force that is prepared for the realities of today.”