Thirty-day readmission rates for bariatric surgery patients can be reduced by implementing a series of quality improvement efforts, according to recent research. Some of the top performers in the study more than doubled the average readmission reduction.

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and The Obesity Society (TOS) reported recently on research presented at the groups’ annual meeting and highlighted a study led by John M. Morton, MD, director of bariatric surgery at Stanford Hospital & Clinics in California. The study involved the Decreasing Readmissions through Opportunities Provided (DROP) program, part of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the ASMBS.

A significant portion of bariatric surgery readmissions are preventable, stemming from issues such as nausea and vomiting, or nutritional problems including electrolyte depletion, ASMBS reports. DROP was implemented at 128 facilities performing bariatric surgery that in the prior year had an average readmission rate of 4.79%. Six months later, the readmission rates dropped an average of 14%, but the top performers in the study saw reductions of 32%.

The DROP program focuses on quality improvement measures that address the most common causes of bariatric readmissions with improved nutrition counseling, discharge processes, psychological therapy, and other methods.