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Role of chronic medical conditions in readmissions
Date:12/23/2013

Researchers cite identification and monitoring of known underlying chronic medical conditions as opportunities to reduce readmission rates and improve patient safety.

Not only are hospital readmissions a costly problem for patients and for the health care system, with studies showing nearly 20 percent of Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital at an annual cost of $17 billion, but they also pose a significant opportunity for improved patient care and safety. They also represent a complex, multi-faceted issue that still needs to be better understood. In new findings from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), researchers find that the most frequent reasons for readmission were often related, either directly or indirectly, to patients' underlying chronic medical conditions (comorbidities), providing a new opportunity for focus in reducing readmission rates. This research is published online in the British Medical Journal on December 16, 2013 and will appear in the January print edition.

"We know that the reason for readmission is often different from the reason that the patient was initially hospitalized. Our research shows that the five most frequent reasons for readmission were often related to patients' existing chronic medical conditions, underscoring the need for post-discharge care to focus attention not just on the primary diagnosis of the previous hospitalization but also on these comorbidities," said Jacques Donz, MD, MSc, a research associate in the Division of General Internal Medicine at BWH and lead author of the new research.

Researchers evaluated the primary diagnoses and patterns of 30-day readmissions and potentially avoidable readmissions according to seven most common comorbidities in medical patients (chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, atrial fibrillation, diabetes mellitus, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic kidney disease). They analyzed data from 10,731 discharges,
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Contact: Lori J Schroth
ljschroth@partners.org
617-525-6374
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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