New research indicates that hospital readmissions occurring in the first week after a patient is discharged are more likely to be preventable than those occurring later. The researchers say that evidence might mean hospital quality leaders should focus more on those early readmissions rather than the typical 30-day readmission rates.
Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center studied readmissions for 810 adults treated at 10 U.S. academic medical centers, finding the first week readmissions were twice as likely to be preventable as others.
Not only were the first-week readmissions more often caused by factors within the hospital’s control, but they also were more responsive to hospital interventions, the study says.
Readmissions later in the 30-day window were more likely due to outside factors that could not be addressed as effectively by the hospital.
“Early readmissions were more likely to be preventable and amenable to hospital-based interventions,” the researchers noted.
“Late readmissions were less likely to be preventable and were more amenable to ambulatory and home-based interventions,” the researchers concluded.
(An abstract of the study is available online at: https://bit.ly/2HICB4L.)