Improving Transitions to Postacute Care for Elderly Patients Using a Novel Video-Conferencing Program: ECHO-Care Transitions

Document Type


Publication Date



PURPOSE: Within 30 days of hospital discharge to a skilled nursing facility, older adults are at high risk for death, re-hospitalization, and high-cost health care. The purpose of this study was to examine whether a novel videoconference program called Extension for Community Health Outcomes-Care Transitions (ECHO-CT) that connects an interdisciplinary hospital-based team with clinicians at skilled nursing facilities reduces patient mortality, hospital readmission, skilled nursing facility length of stay, and 30-day health care costs.

METHODS: We undertook a prospective cohort study comparing cost and health care utilization outcomes between ECHO-CT facilities and matched comparisons from January 2014-December 2014.

RESULTS: Thirty-day readmission rates were significantly lower in the intervention group (odds ratio 0.57; 95% CI, 0.34-0.96; P-value .04), as were the 30-day total health care cost ($2602.19 lower; 95% CI, -$4133.90 to -$1070.48; P-value

CONCLUSION: Patients discharged to skilled nursing facilities participating in the ECHO-CT program had shorter lengths of stay, lower 30-day rehospitalization rates, and lower 30-day health care costs compared with those in matched skilled nursing facilities delivering usual care. ECHO-CT may improve patient transitions to postacute care at lower overall cost.