Study: Examining Shorter Readmission Intervals a Better Indicator of Hospital Quality

October 18, 2016
Medicare Web

When looking at the link between readmissions and hospital quality of care, it may be best to focus on patients who return to the hospital seven or fewer days after discharge, according to a recent Health Affairs study.

Most hospitals and public reporting programs have adopted the idea that 30-day readmissions will help identify hospital-related factors that contributed to a readmission. However, Health Affairs suggests that this time frame should be condensed due to the number of home- and community-based factors that could contribute to a patient’s readmission within 30 days of discharge. Instead, to get a better grasp on the ways in which the quality of care at a hospital may contribute to a readmission, facilities may want to consider analyzing patients who return to the hospital within a week of discharge.

The study involved Medicare patients ages 65 and older in four states who were treated for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, or pneumonia. Researchers examined the 30-day risk of unplanned inpatient readmissions among these patients.

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