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Predicting Avoidable 30-Day Readmissions

Predicting Avoidable 30-Day Readmissions

Throughout the United States, readmission rates are increasingly being used for benchmarking across hospitals. Some hospital readmissions may be avoidable, which in turn has led to the levying of financial penalties on hospitals with high risk-adjusted rates. Recent studies have estimated that the 30-day readmission rate for Medicare beneficiaries is almost 20%, and these occurrences cost the U.S. healthcare system as much as $17 billion annually. Several prediction scores have been developed, but few accurately and efficiently predict 30-day readmission risk in general medical patients, explains Jacques Donzé, MD, MSc. “The models that are currently available often do not distinguish between avoidable and unavoidable readmissions, have poor discriminatory power, or use complex scores that aren’t calculable before hospital discharge. Interventions to reduce readmissions are often expensive to implement. To improve efficiency, the highest intensity interventions should be targeted to patients who are most likely to benefit.” A New Prediction Model for 30-Day Readmission In JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr. Donzé and colleagues had a study published that derived and validated a prediction model for potentially avoidable 30-day hospital readmissions in medical patients. The model used administrative and clinical data that was readily available prior to discharge. “Our purpose was to help clinicians target transitional care interventions most efficiently,” Dr. Donzé says. “The goal was to develop a score to predict potentially avoidable readmissions. In other words, we wanted to predict which patients may be most likely to benefit from intensive interventions.” The HOSPITAL score is able to indicate readmission risk before a patient is discharged. This allows clinicians to target a timely transitional care intervention. In their retrospective analysis, Dr....
The Impact of Depression on ED Stays in ACS Patients

The Impact of Depression on ED Stays in ACS Patients

Studies suggest that about 30% of patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) experience symptoms of depression during hospitalization. These patients are nearly twice as likely to die from ACS or have recurrent cardiac disease when compared with those who aren’t depressed. The ED is often the first point of contact for treating ACS patients, and recent research suggests that psychosocial factors may impact aspects of care in the ED, including length of stay (LOS). Depression, ACS, & LOS It has been hypothesized that longer ED LOS may be associated with adverse clinical outcomes for those with ACS, especially among those with depression. In a recent issue of BMC Emergency Medicine, my colleagues and I sought to determine if depressed ACS patients experienced different ED care than those without depression. After reviewing data from 120 participants, we found that currently depressed ACS patients spent an average of 5.4 more hours in the ED than those who had never been depressed. Not surprisingly, our study also revealed that presentation to the ED during off-peak hours was associated with longer ED LOS. Interestingly, no significant associations were observed with other demographic variables that might be expected to influence ED LOS, including race, ethnicity, or neighborhood income. Furthermore, these variables did not appear to account for the association between depression and ED LOS. Making Interpretations Data from our study are preliminary, but indicate that there is likely an association between depression and longer ED LOS. There are several possible explanations for this finding. Depression may influence how ACS patients present to the ED, report their symptoms, recruit family members or friends to accompany...

Improving the Problem of ED Boarding

According to previous research, boarding inpatients in EDs is one of the main drivers for crowding. In the August 2012 issue of Health Affairs, my colleagues and I explained what is known about the causes and dangerous effects of boarding, strategies that have been demonstrated to alleviate boarding but are underused, and possible regulatory steps that will be needed for hospital leaders to increase efforts to address boarding. Crowding & Boarding: A Costly Problem Inpatients who are boarded in EDs burden already busy ED staff and are kept in brightly lit, loud environments for many hours or even days. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that boarding increases morbidity and mortality, lengthens hospital stays and durations of intubation, worsens pain control, and compromises care. Patients may also have greater exposure to hospital-acquired infections. Boarding also affects measures to which hospitals are held accountable, including time to receipt of antibiotics for patients with pneumonia and the development of bedsores. Furthermore, long waits due to crowding cause some patients to leave EDs before being seen by physicians, robbing them of care and decreasing hospital revenue from their visit. [polldaddy poll=7044226] Boarding occurs when inpatient beds are not available to patients admitted through the ED. This sometimes is the result of hospitals being at full capacity, but inefficient operations may also be partly to blame. Even when hospitals are not at full capacity, hospital leaders who don’t fully understand the costs of boarding may preferentially reserve beds for patients whom they consider more profitable than ED patients (eg, elective surgery patients for whose care is assured reimbursement). Evidence is mixed on whether this...

Big Dividends for an After-Hours Clinic Model

Using an after-hours clinic (AHC) that was off-site from a children’s hospital ED appears to significantly reduce length of stay (LOS) and charges. In a retrospective analysis, researchers found that the average LOS was 81.2 minutes shorter and average charges were $236.20 less for AHC-treated patients when compared with patients treated in a pediatric ED. The researchers reported that this approach may be an effective model to help address ED overcrowding and promote patient safety. Abstract: Pediatric Emergency Care, November...

Hospital Length of Stay in Non-STEMI Patients

Duke University research suggests that patients with non-STEMI who spend more than 2 days in the hospital after their event appear to have more comorbidities and in-hospital complications than those with shorter lengths of stay (LOS). Patients with longer LOS were also less likely to receive evidence-based medications or PCI. Abstract: American Journal of Medicine, November...
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