CME/CE – ED Return Visits: Examining Outcomes & Costs

CME/CE – ED Return Visits: Examining Outcomes & Costs
Author Information (click to view)

Amber K. Sabbatini, MD, MPH

Amber K. Sabbatini, MD, MPH
Acting Instructor of Emergency Medicine
Division of Emergency Medicine
Harborview Medical Center
UW Medical Center

Amber K. Sabbatini, MD, MPH, has indicated to Physician’s Weekly that she has or has had no financial interests to report.

Figure 1 (click to view)
Target Audience (click to view)

This activity is designed to meet the needs of physicians and nurses.

Learning Objectives(click to view)

Upon completion of the educational activity, participants should be able to:

 

  • Discuss the findings, and their implications, of a study that examined in-hospital clinical outcomes and resource use among patients who were admitted to the hospital on a return visit to the ED and compared them with patients who were hospitalized and did not return to the ED.

Method of Participation(click to view)

Release Date: 6/19/2017
Expiration Date: 6/19/2018

Statements of credit will be awarded based on the participant reviewing monograph, correctly answer 2 out of 3 questions on the post test, completing and submitting an activity evaluation.  A statement of credit will be available upon completion of an online evaluation/claimed credit form at intivahealth.akhcme.com/procial/lessons/11.  You must participate in the entire activity to receive credit.  If you have questions about this CME/CE activity, please contact AKH Inc. dcotterman@akhcme.com.

Credit Available(click to view)

AKH

CME Credit Provided by AKH Inc., Advancing Knowledge in Healthcare

Physicians
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of AKH Inc., Advancing Knowledge in Healthcare and Physician’s Weekly’s.  AKH Inc., Advancing Knowledge in Healthcare is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AKH Inc., Advancing Knowledge in Healthcare designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

 

Physician Assistants
NCCPA accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by ACCME.

 

Nursing
AKH Inc., Advancing Knowledge in Healthcare is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

This activity is awarded 0.5 contact hours.

Commercial Support(click to view)

There is no commercial support for this activity.

Disclosures(click to view)

It is the policy of AKH Inc. to ensure independence, balance, objectivity, scientific rigor, and integrity in all of its continuing education activities. The author must disclose to the participants any significant relationships with commercial interests whose products or devices may be mentioned in the activity or with the commercial supporter of this continuing education activity. Identified conflicts of interest are resolved by AKH prior to accreditation of the activity and may include any of or combination of the following: attestation to non-commercial content; notification of independent and certified CME/CE expectations; referral to National Author Initiative training; restriction of topic area or content; restriction to discussion of science only; amendment of content to eliminate discussion of device or technique; use of other author for discussion of recommendations; independent review against criteria ensuring evidence support recommendation; moderator review; and peer review.

Disclosure of Unlabeled Use & Investigational Product(click to view)

This educational activity may include discussion of uses of agents that are investigational and/or unapproved by the FDA. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings.

Disclaimer(click to view)

This course is designed solely to provide the healthcare professional with information to assist in his/her practice and professional development and is not to be considered a diagnostic tool to replace professional advice or treatment. The course serves as a general guide to the healthcare professional, and therefore, cannot be considered as giving legal, nursing, medical, or other professional advice in specific cases. AKH Inc. specifically disclaim responsibility for any adverse consequences resulting directly or indirectly from information in the course, for undetected error, or through participant’s misunderstanding of the content.

Faculty & Credentials(click to view)

Keith D’Oria – Editorial Director
Discloses no financial relationships with pharmaceutical or medical product manufacturers.
Amber K. Sabbatini, MD, MPH
Discloses no financial relationships with pharmaceutical or medical product manufacturers.
AKH and PHYSICIAN WEEKLY’S STAFF/REVIEWERS
Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN- CE Director of Accreditation
Discloses no financial relationships with pharmaceutical or medical product manufacturers.
AKH planners and reviewers have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

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Amber K. Sabbatini, MD, MPH (click to view)

Amber K. Sabbatini, MD, MPH

Amber K. Sabbatini, MD, MPH
Acting Instructor of Emergency Medicine
Division of Emergency Medicine
Harborview Medical Center
UW Medical Center

Amber K. Sabbatini, MD, MPH, has indicated to Physician’s Weekly that she has or has had no financial interests to report.

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Patients initially discharged after ED visits and subsequently hospitalized during a return visit to the ED appear to have lower in-hospital mortality, ICU admission rates, and in-hospital costs but have longer lengths of stay when compared with those who were hospitalized and did not return to the ED..
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Ensuring safe transitions of care is an important goal for promoting better patient experiences, improving the quality of outcomes, and reducing costs. All-cause hospital readmissions are now a reportable measure of hospital quality and tied to financial penalties for poor-performing hospitals. Unscheduled return visits after ED discharge may also be a reflection of inadequate discharge practices or follow-up procedures.

“Throughout the United States, short-term unscheduled return visits to the ED are being monitored as an administrative performance measure,” says Amber K. Sabbatini, MD, MPH. “However, there may be unintended consequences from using return visits to the ED as a measure of quality.” When deciding whether or not to hospitalize patients, emergency physicians need to balance expected benefits of hospitalization against clinical uncertainty, the risks associated with admitting patients, and the costs of hospital stays. To date, little is known about the subsequent clinical outcomes of patients who have had a return visit to the ED and subsequent hospital admission.

 

Taking a Closer Look

For a study published in JAMA, Dr. Sabbatini and colleagues examined in-hospital clinical outcomes and resource use among patients who were admitted to the hospital on a return visit to the ED and compared them with patients who were hospitalized and did not return to the ED. The authors hypothesized that patients with a return visit to the ED would be more likely to return with severe symptoms or at a later stage of their acute illness. This may mean that these patients could experience relatively poorer outcomes and use more resources during their hospitalization as a result of delayed care.

Using data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the investigators retrospectively reviewed adult ED visits to acute care hospitals in Florida and New York in 2013. Patients with index ED visits were identified and followed for return visits to the ED within 7, 14, and 30 days. Among the more than 9 million index ED visits to 424 hospitals in the study sample, more than 1.7 million patients were admitted to the hospital during the index ED visit.

Of the patients who were initially admitted to the hospital during their index ED visit, 8.5% had a return visit to the ED within 7 days of the index ED visit and 51.0% were readmitted. The research team also found that 13.0% of these patients had a return visit to the ED within 14 days of the index ED visit and 53.4% were readmitted to the hospital. In addition, 19.9% of these patients had a return visit to the ED within 30 days of the index ED visit and 54.6% were readmitted.

According to Dr. Sabbatini, patients who returned to the ED after hospital discharge and were readmitted had higher rates of in-hospital mortality and ICU admission. “These patients also had longer lengths of stay and higher costs during the repeat hospital admission when compared with those admitted to the hospital during their index ED visit without a return ED visit,” she says. Results were consistent for patients returning to the ED within 7, 14, or 30 days of their initial ED visit (Table).

 

Significant Implications

“Our findings suggest that ED return admissions may not adequately capture deficits in the quality of care that is delivered during an ED visit,” adds Dr. Sabbatini. “The interpretation of rates of return visits to the ED has important policy implications, especially with the recent efforts to provide patients with a value-driven healthcare system.” The study notes that recent changes in healthcare financing—such as payer scrutiny over short-stay hospitalizations, physician profiling with pay-for-performance incentives or penalties, and expansion of risk-sharing agreements—have increased pressure on hospitals and physicians to reduce unnecessary admissions.

“There is value in tracking ED return visits as an internal quality assurance process, but it doesn’t appear to be prudent to emphasize ED return visits as a blunt measure of quality when assessing hospital performance,” Dr. Sabbatini says. “Such policies may encourage unnecessary hospitalizations as emergency physicians try to guard themselves against clinical uncertainty and maintain favorable revisit metrics.”

Dr. Sabbatini says that choosing appropriate measures that accurately identify the quality of ED care will be increasingly important so that physicians and hospitals are incentivized in a way that benefits patients while avoiding unintended consequences. “Decisions to discharge patients from the ED also depend on patient preferences and their ability to safely manage their condition as an outpatient,” she says. “Many factors could play a role on ED revisit rates. When it comes to treatment, the key is for physicians to do their due diligence and share the decision-making process with patients. We should strive to strike a balance between safe discharge practices and appropriate stewardship of hospital-based resources.”

Readings & Resources (click to view)

Sabbatini AK, Kocher KE, Basu A, Hsia RY. In-hospital outcomes and costs among patients hospitalized during a return visit to the emergency department. JAMA. 2016;315:663-671.Available at: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2491638.

Sabbatini AK, Nallamothu BK, Kocher KE. Reducing variation in hospital admissions from the emergency department for low-mortality conditions may produce savings. Health Aff (Millwood). 2014;33:1655-1663.

Rising KL, White LF, FernandezWG, Boutwell AE. Emergency department visits after hospital discharge: amissing part of the equation. Ann Emerg Med. 2013;62:145-150.

Rising KL, Victor TW, Hollander JE, Carr BG. Patient returns to the emergency department: the time-to-return curve. Acad Emerg Med. 2014;21:864-871.

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