A Call for Standardized Rehospitalization Measures

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<p>Rehospitalizations are prevalent, harmful to patients, and costly for the health system. Yet, as of today, there is no meaningful way to assess U.S. rehospitalization trends, because the nation lacks a standardized way to measure them. In a new <a href="/blog/2010/call-standardized-rehospitalization-measures-and-information-systems">blog post</a>, Anne-Marie Audet, M.D., M.Sc., vice president for Health System Quality and Efficiency at The Commonwealth Fund, describes the current situation as untenable.</p>
<p>"To move toward greater levels of care coordination, integration, and accountability, we must have standard measures to track progress," Audet says. "After all, what gets measured gets done."</p>
<p>According to Audet, the new measures should apply to all patients, regardless of who insures them and where they receive their care. Standard definitions should also specify whether the measure is an "all-cause" rehospitalization or "condition-specific." In addition, she says the country must invest in information systems that can provide the timely data necessary to help providers take steps when problems are identified.</p>
<p>"National standards for rehospitalizations will enable patients to engage in their care; providers to monitor what works and where they may need to intervene once a problem is identified; regulators to develop effective regulations; and payers to develop appropriate payment incentives to foster high levels of performance," Audet says.</p>