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Buitrago I, Seidl KL, Gingold DB, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2022;44:169-177.
Reducing hospital 30-day readmissions is seen as a way to improve safety and reduce costs. Baltimore City mobile integrated health and community paramedicine (MIH-CP) was designed to improve transitional care from hospital to home. After one year in operation, MIH-CP performed a chart review to determine causes of readmission among patients in the program. Root cause analysis indicated that at least one social determinant of health (e.g., health literacy) played a role in preventable readmissions; the program was modified to improve transitional care.
Combs CA, Goffman D, Pettker CM. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2022;226:b2-b9.
Readmission reduction as an improvement measure has been found to be problematic as a maternal safety outcome. This statement shares concerns regarding incentivizing hospitalization reductions after birth and explores the potential for patient harm due to pressures to reduce readmissions when needed.
Enumah SJ, Resnick AS, Chang DC. PLOS ONE. 2022;17:e0266696.
While quality and patient safety initiatives are implemented to improve patient outcomes, they also typically include a financial cost which must be balanced with expected outcomes. This study compared hospitals’ financial performance (i.e., financial margin and risk of financial distress) and outcomes (i.e., 30-day readmission rates, patient safety indicator-90 (PSI-90)) using data from the American Hospital Association and Hospital Compare. Hospitals in the best quintiles of readmission rates and PSI-90 scores had higher operating margins compared to the lowest rated hospitals.

Post-acute transitions – which involve patients being discharged from the hospital to home-based or community care environments – are associated with patient safety risks, often due to poor communication and fragmented care. This primer outlines the main types of home-based care services and formal home-based care programs and how these services can increase patient safety and improve health outcomes.

Muchiri S, Azadeh-Fard N, Pakdil F. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:237-244.
The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), implemented by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), imposes a financial penalty on hospitals with higher than average readmission rates for certain conditions. Six years of readmission rates for four conditions included in the HRRP (acute myocardial infarction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, and pneumonia) and two conditions not included (septicemia and mood disorders) were analyzed to assess the impact of the HRRP. The researchers conclude the HRRP reduced readmission rates for the four targeted conditions, but reductions were not consistent across all categories of patients.

The MOQI seeks to reduce avoidable hospitalization among nursing home residents by placing an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) within the care team with the goal of early identification of resident decline. In addition to the APRN, the MOQI involves nursing home teams focused on use of tools to better detect acute changes in resident status, smoother transitions between hospitals and nursing homes, end-of-life care, and use of health information technology to facilitate communication with peers. As a result of the innovation, resident hospitalizations declined.

McHugh MD, Aiken LH, Sloane DM, et al. The Lancet. 2021;397:1905-1913.
While research shows that better nurse staffing ratios are associated with improved patient outcomes, policies setting minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals are rarely implemented. In 2016, select Queensland (Australia) hospitals implemented minimum nurse staffing ratios. Compared to hospitals that did not implement minimum nurse staffing ratios, length of stay, mortality, and readmission rates were significantly lower in intervention hospitals, providing evidence, once again, that minimum staffing ratios can improve patient outcomes. 

The Patient Safe-D(ischarge) program used standardized tools to educate patients about their discharge needs, test understanding of those needs, and improve medication reconciliation at admission and discharge. A quasi-randomized controlled trial of the program found that it significantly increased patients' understanding and knowledge of their diagnoses, treatment, and required follow-up care.

The Hospital at Homesm program provides hospital-level care (including daily physician and nurse visits, diagnostic testing, treatment, and other support) in a patient's home as a full substitute for acute hospital care for selected conditions that are common among seniors. Studies have shown that the Hospital at Home program results in lower length of stay, costs, readmission rates, and complications than does traditional inpatient care, and surveys indicate higher levels of patient and family member satisfaction than with traditional care.

Merkow RP, Shan Y, Gupta AR, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2020;46:558-564.
Postoperative complications can increase costs due to additional healthcare utilization such as further testing, reoperation, or additional clinical services. This study used data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) to estimate 30-day costs resulting from postoperative complications. Prolonged ventilation, unplanned intubation, and renal failure were associated with the highest cost per event, whereas urinary tract infection, superficial surgical site infection, and venous thromboembolism were associated with the lowest cost per event.
Sunkara PR, Islam T, Bose A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:569-575.
This study explored the influence of structured interdisciplinary bedside rounding (SIBR) on readmissions and length of stay. Compared to the control group, the odds of 7-day readmission were lower among patients admitted to a unit with SIBR (odds ratio=0.70); the intervention did not reduce length of stay or 30-day readmissions.

Under a program known as the Care Transitions Intervention ®, a Transitions Coach ® encourages patients who are transferring from either a hospital or a short-term skilled nursing facility stay to home to assert a more active role in their self-care. The program has consistently reduced 30-day hospital readmissions and costs as well as 180-day hospital readmissions, even in heavily penetrated Medicare Advantage markets in which the reduction of hospital use has been an explicit focus for many years.