Does telephone follow-up predict patient satisfaction and readmission?

Popul Health Manag. 2011 Oct;14(5):249-55. doi: 10.1089/pop.2010.0045. Epub 2011 Apr 19.


Nursing telephone calls after hospital discharge are commonly adopted as a tool to improve patient satisfaction and continuity of care. Previous research, however, has been inconclusive on the impact of telephone follow-up. The purpose of this study was to comparatively examine patients who received telephone follow-up for response differences on a mail satisfaction survey and 30-day readmission rates for a large health system in southeast Texas. Telephone follow-up, patient satisfaction, and administrative billing data from 2008 to 2009 were retrospectively examined across 10 nursing units that routinely performed calls after patient discharge. Patients eligible to receive a nursing call (N = 10,559) were categorized based on responses to nursing questions or if no contact was made. Logistic regression was used to evaluate whether call data significantly predicted survey response and 30-day readmission rates. Nonparametric analysis was used to evaluate whether survey ratings varied between groups. Completion of telephone follow-up was a significant (P < 0.01) predictor of patient response to the mail survey, with 62% more patients returning surveys after contact. Completion of a nursing call with a patient who reported a physician appointment was a significant predictor (P = 0.04) of lower 30-day readmissions. Readmission rates were 10.8% for patients who did not receive telephone follow-up compared to 9.5% for patients who received a call and who had a scheduled physician appointment. Mean nursing and overall satisfaction scores varied minimally between groups and telephone follow-up was not a significant predictor of patient satisfaction. Telephone follow-up shows significant predictive value for mail survey response and 30-day readmission rates but does not correlate with patient satisfaction scores in the hospital setting.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Readmission*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Telephone*
  • Texas