Broad Approach May be Better for Reducing Readmissions, Study Suggests

As the CMS begins the second year of a penalty program for preventable hospital readmissions required by the healthcare reform law, new research indicates that hospitals fare better when they focus on patient care more generally rather than targeting specific conditions, such heart failure, or specific timeframes, such as 30 days post-discharge.

As the CMS begins the second year of a penalty program for preventable hospital readmissions required by the healthcare reform law, new research indicates that hospitals fare better when they focus on patient care more generally rather than targeting specific conditions, such heart failure, or specific timeframes, such as 30 days post-discharge.

According to the study, published in the British Medical Journal, top-performing hospitals had fewer readmissions across the board, regardless of condition. Those findings could have significant implications for hospitals that are concentrating their improvement efforts on particular areas, such as heart failure care, the authors said.

“Our findings suggest that hospitals may best achieve low rates of readmission by employing strategies that lower readmission risk globally rather than for specific diagnoses or time periods after hospitalization,” said Dr. Kumar Dharmarajan, a visiting scholar at the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Yale, and the study's lead author.

Researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine analyzed three years of Medicare data covering more than 600,000 30-day readmissions for heart failure, heart attack or pneumonia at more than 4,000 hospitals.

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Source: Modern Healthcare