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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.
El Abd A, Schwab C, Clementz A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:230-236.
Older adults are at high risk for 30-day unplanned hospital readmission. This study identified patient-level risk factors among patients 75 years or older who were initially hospitalized for fall-related injuries. Risk factors included being a male, abnormal concentration of C-reactive protein, and anemia. Discharge programs targeting these patients could reduce 30-day unplanned readmissions.
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.

Studies show that home visits to patients recently discharged from the hospital can help prevent unnecessary readmission.1 Providing continuing care instructions to patients in their homes—where they may be less overwhelmed than in the hospital—may also be a key mechanism for preventing readmission.2 Home visit clinicians and technicians can note any health concerns in the home environment and help patients understand their care plan in the context of that environment.2

Ziedan E, Kaestner R. Eval Rev. 2021;45:359-411.
The Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) Hospital Readmissions and Reduction Program (HRRP) financially penalizes hospitals if patients with certain medical conditions are readmitted. This study analyzed the empirical approaches used in prior research to evaluate the effectiveness of the HRRP. The authors conclude that approaches used in some prior research lacked internal validity and may not indicate causal consequences of the program on readmissions.

ECHO-Care Transitions (ECHO-CT) intends to ensure continuity of care and alleviate the risk of patient safety issues, notably medication errors, occurring because of hospital transition. With funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) adapted Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) to connect receiving multidisciplinary skilled nursing facility (SNF) teams with a multidisciplinary team at the discharging hospital.

Singh D, Fahim G, Ghin HL, et al. J Pharm Pract. 2021;34:354-359.
Pharmacist-led medication reconciliation has been found to reduce medication discrepancies for some patients. This retrospective study examined the impact of pharmacist-conducted medication reconciliation among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). While pharmacist-conducted medication reconciliation identified medication dosing and frequency errors, it did not reduce 30-day readmission rates for patients with COPD.
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.

Uitvlugt EB, Janssen MJA, Siegert CEH, et al. Front Pharmacol. 2021;12:567424.
Identifying and reducing potentially preventable readmissions is a patient safety priority. This study found that 16% of readmissions at one teaching hospital in the Netherlands were medication-related; of those, 40% were considered potentially preventable. Preventable readmissions were attributed to prescribing errors, non-adherence, and handoff or transition errors.
Lau VI, Priestap FA, Lam JNH, et al. J Intensive Care Med. 2020;35:1067-1073.
Many factors can contribute to early, unplanned readmissions among critical care patients. In this prospective cohort study, adult patients who were discharged directly home after an ICU admission were followed for 8 weeks post-discharge to explore the predictors of adverse events and unplanned return visits to a health care facility. Among 129 patients, there were 39 unplanned return visits. Researchers identified eight predictors of unplanned return visits including prior substance abuse, hepatitis, discharge diagnosis of sepsis, ICU length of stay exceeding 2 days, nursing workload, and leaving against medical advice.  
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.
Raffel KE, Kantor MA, Barish P, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:971-979.
This retrospective cohort study characterized diagnostic errors among adult patients readmitted to the hospital within 7 days of hospital discharge. Over a 12-month period, 5.6% of readmissions were found to contain at least one diagnostic error during the index admissions. These diagnostic errors were primarily related to clinician diagnostic reasoning, including failure to order needed tests, erroneous interpretation of tests, and failure to consider the correct diagnosis. The majority of the diagnostic errors resulted in some form of clinical impact, including short-term morbidity and readmissions.

A 69-year-old man with cognitive impairment and marginal housing was admitted to the hospital for exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). After a four-day admission, the physician arranged for discharge and transport to residential care home and arranged for Meds-to-Beds (M2B), a service that collaborates with a local commercial pharmacy to deliver discharge medications to the bedside prior to the patient leaving the hospital.

Daliri S, Boujarfi S, el Mokaddam A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:146-156.
This systematic review examined the effects of medication-related interventions on readmissions, medication errors, adverse drug events, medication adherence, and mortality. Meta-analyses indicate that medication-related interventions reduce 30-day readmissions and the positive effect increased with higher intervention intensities (e.g., additional intervention components). Additional research is required to determine the effects on adherence, mortality, and medication errors and adverse drug events.
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.
Weir DL, Motulsky A, Abrahamowicz M, et al. Health Serv Res. 2020.
This study examined the effect of medication regimen changes at hospital discharge on adherence and adverse events among older adults. At 30-days post-discharge, nearly half of patients were nonadherent to at least one medication change, 26% visited the emergency department, 6% were readmitted to the hospital, and 0.5% died. Patients who were non-adherent to all medication changes had a 35% higher risk of adverse events within 30-days post-discharge compared to those were adherent to all changes.

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.

Lacker C. Am J Nurs. 2011;111:65-69.
Analyzing data from the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Reporting System, this commentary identifies contributing factors to readmissions and suggests tactics to prevent them.