Readmission Rates Stubborn, Even Among Best Hospitals

Doug Desjardins, November 1, 2013

Hospitals are doing a better job implementing best practices to reduce 30-day readmission rates for cardiac patients, but even "the best-of-the-best" are still falling short in other key areas, Yale researchers find.

A study from researchers at Yale University found that hospitals taking part in a national program to reduce preventable 30-day readmissions for cardiac patients are taking a more pro-active approach to following protocols designed to reduce readmissions.

And though the results of the follow-up study showed "statistically significant changes of substantial magnitude in several specific strategies," it also showed there was "no significant change" in a number of key areas including collaboration with a patient's primary care physician after they've been discharged.

The study, titled "Contemporary Data about Hospital Strategies for Reducing Unplanned Readmissions: What has Changed?" and published in the October issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, revisited a 2012 Yale University survey of 537 U.S. hospitals taking part in the national Hospital to Home (H2H) Quality Improvement Program to reduce 30-day readmissions for patients with heart failure and acute myocardial infraction (AMI).

The H2H initiative establishes 10 best practices hospitals should follow to reduce readmissions. The 2012 study found that, on average, hospitals surveyed were using only 4.8 of the best practices at all times and that only 3% were using all 10 practices.


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