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Disease Education Program Leads to More Revenue for Hospital

Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media, February 23, 2010

Hospitals look for ways to improve patient education all the time. Once in a while, this education pays dividends on multiple levels—such as the case of Parrish Medical Center in Boca Raton, FL.

Parrish Medical Center found that a significant portion of the hospital's patient population had Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and an education program led to downstream revenue of nearly $500,000 through repeat visits for follow-up care and unrelated tests.

The program's original intent was to raise community awareness, standardize treatment, document outcome measures, and increase communication for those providing care to PAD patients.

Nurse educator Marialice Knight, RN, BSN, started the program at Parrish. "In 2003 … I became aware of a study by Partners, which performed ankle-brachial indexes on close to 7,000 patients," says Knight. "They found that 29% were positive for peripheral disease. It was weird that less than half of their physicians were aware they had this."

Knight presented this study to two physicians in the cardiac rehabilitation department. They worked together to take a proposal to the facility's administration for a plan to educate the community about this disease and perform screenings.

"Our administration immediately embraced it—not just as a community effort, but as a way of identifying these patients who were out there and had no idea" they were at risk, says Knight.

The organization was able to purchase 20 machines and recruited physicians to place the screening devices in their offices.

"We realized we weren't getting the volumes we wanted so we initiated further programs," says Knight.

The organization hosted screenings every September during Cardiovascular Disease Awareness Month between 2005 and 2007.

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