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.
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.
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.
Pinheiro LC, Reshetnyak E, Safford MM, et al. Med Care. 2021;59:901-906.
Prior research has found that racial/ethnic minorities may be at higher risk for adverse patient safety outcomes. This study evaluated racial disparities in self-reported adverse events based on cross-sectional survey data collected as part of a national, prospective cohort evaluating stroke mortality. Findings show that Black participants were significantly more likely to report a preventable adverse event attributable to poor care coordination (e.g., drug-drug interaction, emergency department visitor, or hospitalization) compared to White participants.
Damery S, Flanagan S, Jones J, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18:7581.
Hospital admissions and preventable adverse events, such as falls and pressure ulcers, are common in long-term care. In this study, care home staff were provided skills training and facilitated support. After 24 months, the safety climate had improved, and both falls and pressure ulcers were reduced.
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.
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.
Field TS, Fouayzi H, Crawford S, et al. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021;22:2196-2200.
Transitioning from hospital to nursing home (NH) can be a vulnerable time for patients. This study looked for potential associations between adverse events (AE) for NH residents following hospital discharge and NH facility characteristics (e.g., 5-star quality rating, ownership, bed size). Researchers found few associations with individual quality indicators and no association between the 5-star quality rating or composite quality score. Future research to reduce AEs during transition from hospital to NH should look beyond currently available quality measures.
Herges JR, Garrison GM, Mara KC, et al. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2020;61:68-73.
The goal of medication reconciliation is to prevent adverse events by identifying unintended medication discrepancies during transitions of care. This retrospective cohort evaluated the impact of attending a pharmacist-clinician collaborative (PCC) visit after hospital discharge with their medication containers on risk of 30-day readmission. Among adult patients on at least 10 total medications, findings indicate no significant difference in 30-day hospital readmission risk between patients presenting to a PCC visit with their medication containers compared with patients who did not. However, when patients did present to their PCC visit with medication containers, pharmacists identified more medication discrepancies and resolved more medication-related issues.
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.
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.
This pilot study evaluated the impact of transitional care pharmacist medication-related interventions in skilled nursing settings on 30-day hospital readmissions. The intervention group received transitional services involving a pharmacist (such as medication reconciliation, coordination with the skill nursing case manager and physician, and patient/caregiver education) and the control group received transitional services without pharmacist involvement. Over the follow-up period, median time to readmission was significantly longer in the intervention group but 30-day readmission rates were non-statistically significantly lower in the intervention compared to control group.
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.
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