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Ann Intern Med. 2011 Oct 18;155(8):520-8. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-155-8-201110180-00008.

Interventions to reduce 30-day rehospitalization: a systematic review.

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  • 1Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA. l-hansen@northwestern.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

About 1 in 5 Medicare fee-for-service patients discharged from the hospital is rehospitalized within 30 days. Beginning in 2013, hospitals with high risk-standardized readmission rates will be subject to a Medicare reimbursement penalty.

PURPOSE:

To describe interventions evaluated in studies aimed at reducing rehospitalization within 30 days of discharge.

DATA SOURCES:

MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library were searched for reports published between January 1975 and January 2011.

STUDY SELECTION:

English-language randomized, controlled trials; cohort studies; or noncontrolled before-after studies of interventions to reduce rehospitalization that reported rehospitalization rates within 30 days.

DATA EXTRACTION:

2 reviewers independently identified candidate articles from the results of the initial search on the basis of title and abstract. Two 2-physician reviewer teams reviewed the full text of candidate articles to identify interventions and assess study quality.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

43 articles were identified, and a taxonomy was developed to categorize interventions into 3 domains that encompassed 12 distinct activities. Predischarge interventions included patient education, medication reconciliation, discharge planning, and scheduling of a follow-up appointment before discharge. Postdischarge interventions included follow-up telephone calls, patient-activated hotlines, timely communication with ambulatory providers, timely ambulatory provider follow-up, and postdischarge home visits. Bridging interventions included transition coaches, physician continuity across the inpatient and outpatient setting, and patient-centered discharge instruction.

LIMITATIONS:

Inadequate description of individual studies' interventions precluded meta-analysis of effects. Many studies identified in the review were single-institution assessments of quality improvement activities rather than those with experimental designs. Several common interventions have not been studied outside of multicomponent "discharge bundles."

CONCLUSION:

No single intervention implemented alone was regularly associated with reduced risk for 30-day rehospitalization.

PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE:

None.

Comment in

PMID:
22007045
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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