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Two-Thirds of Bariatric Readmissions Preventable

By Gregory A. Freeman  
   March 07, 2016

By identifying patients most at risk for readmission and focusing on best practices proven to keep patients out of the hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine's bariatric program reduced its readmission rates from 8% to 2.5% in four years.

This article appears in the January/February 2016 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

With a mortality rate of 0.1% and relatively few complications, 30-day readmissions represent the one area in which bariatric surgery programs could improve, says John Morton, MD, director of bariatric surgery at Stanford (California) University School of Medicine and immediate past president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Improving that rate requires identifying patients most at risk for readmission and focusing on best practices proven to keep patients out of the hospital.

About two-thirds of the readmissions are preventable, he says, and the most common reasons for readmission are dietary indiscretions and medication reconciliation.

Focusing on those two causes and other best practices enabled Stanford's bariatric program to reduce its readmission rates from 8% to 2.5% in four years. Stanford's 2008 pilot project on reducing readmissions evolved into the nationwide Decreasing Readmissions through Opportunities Provided program, which aims to reduce 30-day readmissions nationwide by 20%.

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Gregory A. Freeman is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.


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