Primary care visits within 7 days of discharge linked to fewer readmissions

Patients who see a primary care physician within one week of a hospital discharge have lower readmission rates, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

For the study, researchers analyzed discharge and readmission data for 1,531 adult Medicaid patients hospitalized between Jan. 1, 2014, and April 30, 2016, in Camden, N.J. To assess patients' hospital use before and after discharge, researchers looked at all-payer claims data from four health systems, along with insurers' lists of patients who attend primary care practices in Camden. 

Of the study participants, 450 participated in the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers' 7-Day Pledge program, which helps patients access primary care services within seven days of a hospital discharge.

Researchers found patients who attended a follow-up appointment as part of this program demonstrated lower 30- and 90-day readmission rates compared to patients who waited longer for a follow-up appointment or did not go at all.

"Our care team has always seen the difference it makes when patients visit their primary care providers soon after discharge, and now we have solid evidence that this approach reduces hospital utilization," Camden Coalition CEO Kathleen Noonan said in a press release emailed to Becker's.

To learn more about the 7-Day Pledge program, click here.

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