Nearly one of five elderly patients who are discharged from the hospital in the United States is rehospitalized within 30 days. Evidence suggests that many of these readmissions are avoidable, caused by complications or infections from the initial hospital stay, poorly managed transitions to post-acute care, or recurrence or exacerbation of symptoms of their chronic diseases. In addition to taking a physical and emotional toll on patients and their families, avoidable readmissions are extremely costly.
Reducing readmissions has become a priority among health care providers, health plans, government, and other stakeholders. Readmission rates for three clinical areas—heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia—are collected and publicly reported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other organizations. The risk-adjusted readmission rates show significant variation across hospitals, indicating that some hospitals are more successful than others at addressing the causes of readmissions. This case study is part of a series that highlights best practices among hospitals.
This case studies series was created for WhyNotTheBest.org . The goal of WhyNotTheBest.org is to foster health care quality improvement by promoting transparency and public reporting, and by providing tools and case studies of top performers to aid organizations in their own improvement efforts.