How can readmissions be reduced?

Interventions to reduce 30-day rehospitalization: a systematic review, by Hansen et al. (Annals of Internal Medicine, 2011), is a handy reference.

The pitch:

Among Medicare fee-for-service patients discharged from the hospital, 19.6% are rehospitalized within 30 days (1). The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has estimated that three quarters of such rehospitalizations may be avoidable and annually account for $12 billion in excess health care costs (2). Others have estimated total hospital costs at $44 billion per year for rehospitalizations within 30 days of hospital discharge (3). The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act designates reduction of avoidable rehospitalization as a target for health care cost savings and authorizes lower payments to hospitals with high risk-standardized rates of readmission.

The swing:

In this systematic review of studies evaluating interventions to reduce readmission within 30 days of hospital discharge, we did not identify a discrete intervention or bundle of interventions that appears to reliably reduce rehospitalization.


I’m happy to not be running a hospital.


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