Florida Blue Health Innovation Challenge Finalists Are Ready to Tackle Hospital Readmissions Issues Amid a Global Health Crisis

TAMPA, FL (July 29, 2020) -- Today, more than ever, health care quality is on an international and national spotlight. Hospital readmissions are becoming a prominent issue surrounding health care quality in the United States. Around $25 billion are spent on preventable hospital readmissions. This year, 12 teams were selected from six universities across Florida to address innovative ways to reduce hospital readmissions.

The Florida Blue Health Innovation Challenge, a partnership between Florida Blue and the University of South Florida’s Center for Entrepreneurship, will have finalist candidates pitch their projects for the last time on Sept. 16.

Hospital readmissions happen when patients are discharged from an acute-care hospital—a hospital that provides patients short term care for illness or other conditions— but are readmitted within 30 days to the same hospital or other acute-care hospitals for the same condition or causes related to it.

In most cases, patients are readmitted for lack of proper follow-up care, adverse drug event, or the inability to understand the importance of their medications and diagnoses, leading to unidentified issues or misdiagnosis. Unnecessary readmissions are very disruptive, increasing the risk of infection and adding a negative physical, emotional and psychological effect on the patient and family members. Today, 20 percent of Medicare patients are readmitted within 30 days after hospital discharge.

The 12 finalist teams will focus on improving discharge planning, patient compliance with medication and care instructions, care coordination, engagement with case management, home health care, and financial and business plans to incentivize reduction.

Teams will present their final pitch to health care and business experts after spending over two months of mentorship from the GuideWell Innovation team and USF Center for Entrepreneurship to further improve their projects and presentation.