A retrospective chart review was performed on patients who were readmitted within 30 days of discharge from the hematology and oncology service at Boston Medical Center over the 6-month period between October 2018 and March 2019. Charts were reviewed by three internal medicine residents and discussed under the supervision of an attending oncologist.
Two hundred ninety-one patient encounters involving 203 unique patients were identified in the 6-month study period. Of these 291 encounters, 80 encounters (27.5%) were followed by a readmission within 30 days and occurred in 61 (30.0%) unique patients. Nineteen (31.1%) of these 61 patients experienced two readmissions within 30 days of discharge. Twenty-five readmissions (31.3%) were classified as potentially avoidable, with the most common cause of potentially avoidable readmissions attributed to ascitic or pleural fluid reaccumulation (8, 32%). The majority of presumed nonpreventable readmissions were due to expected complications of cancer progression and treatment-related side effects.
In conclusion, readmissions were common, and a modifiable reason for 30-day readmissions was identified. Addressing recurrent ascitic and pleural fluid reaccumulation in the outpatient setting could help to reduce inpatient hospital readmission on an inpatient oncology service.