Identifying hospital organizational strategies to reduce readmissions

From American Journal of Medical Quality

With looming financial penalties for institutions with high readmission rates, hospital administrators are under pressure to implement strategies to reduce readmissions. The objectives of this study were to understand the process of developing readmission reduction strategies. The authors designed a qualitative study consisting of semistructured interviews with hospital administrators with the goal of better understanding the range of approaches being used to reduce readmission rates. They found that perceived risk factors for readmission were not just about patient characteristics such as disease-level factors, but extended to population-level, institution-level, and system-level factors. This research illustrates the complexity of developing readmission reduction strategies and the numerous challenges faced by hospital administrators. In summary, this research demonstrates that reducing readmissions has become a top priority at these hospitals and that administrators have allocated significant resources to readmission reduction strategies even during a time of increasingly scarce resources.

 

Abstract

With looming financial penalties for institutions with high readmission rates, hospital administrators are under pressure to implement strategies to reduce readmissions despite limited evidence of effective strategies. The objectives of this study were to understand the process of developing readmission reduction strategies and to identify and categorize the range of strategies being implemented. The authors designed a qualitative study using semistructured interviews with 12 hospital administrators at 6 different hospitals. The following 6 categories of strategies were identified: (a) tracking readmissions, (b) using prediction tools, (c) implementing disease-specific or generic readmission reduction programs, (d) adopting electronic health record-based strategies to improve transitions, (e) recruiting frontline staff for program leadership, and (f) coordinating with primary care providers. The results highlight the myriad approaches to readmission reduction and the complexity of developing effective strategies.

 

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Article details
Ahmad, F., Metlay, J., Barg, F., Henderson, R., & Werner, R. (2012). Identifying Hospital Organizational Strategies to Reduce Readmissions American Journal of Medical Quality DOI: 10.1177/1062860612464999

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