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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2012 Aug 14;60(7):607-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2012.03.067. Epub 2012 Jul 18.

Contemporary evidence about hospital strategies for reducing 30-day readmissions: a national study.

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Section of Health Policy and Administration, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8034, USA.



This study sought to determine the range and prevalence of practices being implemented by hospitals to reduce 30-day readmissions of patients with heart failure or acute myocardial infarction (AMI).


Readmissions of patients with heart failure or AMI are both common and costly; however, evidence on strategies adopted by hospitals to reduce readmission rates is limited.


We used a Web-based survey to conduct a cross-sectional study of hospitals' reported use of specific practices to reduce readmissions for patients with heart failure or AMI. We contacted all hospitals enrolled in the Hospital to Home (H2H) quality improvement initiative as of July 2010. Of 594 hospitals, 537 completed the survey (response rate of 90.4%). We used standard frequency analysis to describe the prevalence of key hospital practices in the areas of: 1) quality improvement resources and performance monitoring; 2) medication management efforts; and 3) discharge and follow-up processes.


Nearly 90% of hospitals agreed or strongly agreed that they had a written objective of reducing preventable readmission for patients with heart failure or AMI. More hospitals reported having quality improvement teams to reduce preventable readmissions for patients with heart failure (87%) than for patients with AMI (54%). Less than one-half (49.3%) of hospitals had partnered with community physicians and only 23.5% had partnered with local hospitals to manage patients at high risk for readmissions. Inpatient and outpatient prescription records were electronically linked usually or always in 28.9% of hospitals, and the discharge summary was always sent directly to the patient's primary medical doctor in only 25.5% of hospitals. On average, hospitals used 4.8 of 10 key practices; <3% of hospitals utilized all 10 practices.


Although most hospitals have a written objective of reducing preventable readmissions of patients with heart failure or AMI, the implementation of recommended practices varied widely. More evidence establishing the effectiveness of various practices is needed.

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