Study: Hospitals Use Fewer Than Half of Recommended Practices to Reduce Readmissions

While nearly 90 percent of hospitals participating in a quality improvement initiative have a written objective of reducing preventable readmission for patients with heart failure or acute myocardial infarction, there is wide variation in the use of recommended practices, according to a study in Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers used a web-based survey of hospitals participating in the Hospital to Home quality improvement initiative as of July 2010 to study their use of specific practices to reduce readmissions for heart failure and AMI patients. Five hundred thirty-seven hospitals responded, yielding a 90.4 percent response rate.

The survey assessed the hospitals' implementation of 10 key hospital practices based on existing literature and recommendations of the H2H campaign. The practices covered quality improvement resources and performance monitoring; medication management efforts; and discharge and follow-up processes.

Overall, hospitals used an average of 4.8 of 10 key practices; less than 3 percent of hospitals followed all 10 practices.

Some key findings include the following:

•    49.3 percent of hospitals partnered with community physicians to manage patients at high risk for readmissions.
•    23.5 percent of hospitals partnered with local hospitals to manage patients at high risk for readmissions.
•    28.9 percent of hospitals usually or always electronically linked inpatient and outpatient prescription records.
•    25.5 percent of hospitals always sent patients' discharge summary directly to their primary medical physician.

More Articles on Hospital Readmissions:

Going Above and Beyond: Robust Telehealth Solutions Fill Gaps in Care, Reduce Hospital Readmissions and Cut Costs
Hospital Readmissions More Than Double the Cost of Care for Medicare Patients

AHRQ Releases Common Format for Readmissions

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