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Kansagara D, Englander H, Salanitro A, et al. Risk Prediction Models for Hospital Readmission: A Systematic Review [Internet]. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs (US); 2011 Oct.

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Risk Prediction Models for Hospital Readmission: A Systematic Review [Internet].

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Predicting hospital readmission risk is of great interest to identify which patients would benefit most from care transition interventions, as well as to risk-standardize readmission rates for purposes of hospital comparison.


To summarize validated readmission risk prediction models, describe their performance, and assess suitability for clinical or administrative use.


Data Sources: MEDLINE, CINAHL, and Cochrane Library through March 2011, EMBASE through August 2011, and hand search of reference lists.

Study Selection: Dual review to identify English language studies of prediction models tested with medical patients, with both derivation and validation cohorts.

Data extraction: Data were extracted on the population, setting, sample size, follow-up interval, readmission rate, model discrimination and calibration, type of data used, and timing of data collection.


Of 7,843 citations reviewed, 30 studies of 26 unique models met criteria. The most common outcome used was 30-day readmission; only one model specifically addressed preventable readmissions. Fourteen models relying on retrospective administrative data could be potentially used for standardization of readmission risk and hospital comparisons; of these, nine were tested in large US populations and had poor discriminative ability (c-statistics 0.55 – 0.65). Seven models could potentially be used to identify high-risk patients for intervention early during a hospitalization (c-statistics 0.56 – 0.72), and five could be used at hospital discharge (c-statistics 0.68 – 0.83). Six studies compared different models in the same population and two of these found that functional and social variables improved model discrimination. Though most models incorporated medical comorbidity and prior utilization variables, few examined variables associated with overall health and function, illness severity, or social determinants of health.


Most current readmission risk prediction models, whether designed for comparative or clinical purposes, perform poorly. Though in certain settings such models may prove useful, efforts to improve their performance are needed as use becomes more widespread.

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