Popular care program doesn't significantly cut readmission rates, study finds

A well-known program to keep "frequent flyer" patients out of the hospital does not cut readmissions any more than typical care protocols, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The Camden (N.J.) Coalition of Healthcare Providers created its "hotspotting" care coordination program more than a decade ago to help lower costs and readmissions among patients with extremely high healthcare utilization. The program connects patients with social workers and nurses to coordinate outpatient care after a hospital discharge. While the program was first launched in New Jersey, it has since gained widespread attention and expanded nationally.

To assess the program's benefits, researchers randomly assigned 800 hospital patients to either participate in the Coalition's care coordination program or receive typical care after discharge. All patients had medically and socially complex health conditions that resulted in a previous hospitalization within the previous six months.

Researchers found no significant difference in readmission rates between the groups. The 180-day readmission rate for patients participating in the program was 62.3 percent, compared to 61.7 percent for the control group.

To view the full study, click here.

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