Valley Health unveils telephone outreach program

Patients discharged from emergency departments in Winchester Medical Center and Shenandoah Memorial, Warren Memorial  and Page Memorial hospitals are now receiving automated phone calls 24 to 72 hours after leaving the hospital about follow-up care.

Carla Dallmann, Valley Health’s vice president of Quality, Safety, Patient Experience and Risk Management, said the health system is   excited about the new program that started Monday.

“We are trying to focus on patient safety and that connection between the emergency department and when the patient gets home and helping to find any issues that might occur in that transition time to be able to intervene sooner and hopefully avoid people having to return back to the emergency department,” she said.

A Valley Health news release stated that before leaving the hospital, every patient will receive a discharge plan with written instructions and reminders to follow up with care to continue healing at home.

The initiative is a product of a new Connect telephone program that uses an automated call with a natural female voice, plus a pre-recorded message from nursing leadership to contact patients one to three days after leaving a hospital, the release stated. The call, which lasts about two minutes, identifies follow-up care questions or customer service issues the patient may have.

Dallmann added that the person will respond to the questions by talking, not by pushing any buttons. If there are concerns the call will be forwarded to a live person at Valley Health.

She said the health system has received many requests for such a service. Valley Health also saw that other health care systems were having good success with similar telephone outreach programs.

She added that she hopes the program reduces the need for people to return to the hospital by identifying problems while patients are still at home and helping them understand what they need to do for their own health and wellness.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or