“Teach-back” technique reduces readmissions and length of stay

The “Teach-back” technique, a method where patients repeat back in their own words information about managing their disease, has been successful in reducing readmissions in a pilot program at Lehigh Valley Hospital, according to the Hospital’s website.   

The program was piloted to heart failure patients.  The three-day education session takes place on the unit, with either the patient or a caregiver.  The sessions focus on general knowledge, patient attitude and behavior.  Patients or caregivers are educated, and then must answer questions related to their care.  

The program reduced same-cause readmission rates for heart failure patients from 9.7% to 7.3%, and also led to a 26% reduction in length of stay, as patients are prepared to go home earlier. 

Teach Back protocols are now being designed for patients who are recovering from a stroke, have pneumonia, are at risk for diabetes, or are taking blood thinning medication.

(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, January 19, 2011; Lehigh Valley Hospital, http://lvhn.org/, January, 2011)