Reducing hospital readmissions - what worked for three US hospitals
posted by HQSC Admin on 10 February 2011
This article from JAMA’s American Medical News, looks at how three US hospitals found success in reducing readmissions.
In the US, one in five elderly patients is readmitted to the hospital 30 days after leaving. That is 2.3 million rehospitalizations a year that rack up more than $17 billion in annual Medicare costs, according to an April 2, 2009, study in The New England Journal of Medicine.
There is disagreement on how many of these readmissions can be prevented. About 40 percent -- nearly 1 million rehospitalizations annually -- are avoidable, said Stephen F. Jencks, MD, MPH, lead author of the NEJM study and former director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Quality Improvement Organization Program. In a June 2007 report, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission said three-quarters of readmissions are "potentially preventable."
Experts say strategies for reducing readmissions amount to two deceptively simple objectives: Make sure patients understand how to care for themselves when they leave the hospital, and make sure they get the follow-up medical attention they need to keep their conditions under control.