Cause of Readmissions

Nearly one in five hospitalized Medicare patients return to the hospital within 30 days.

Yet most of these patients return not because their previous illness has flared up, a new study suggests, but because they have an entirely new problem that, in many cases, was caused by the trauma of being hospitalized.

More on the case of patients readmitted to hospitals in USA Today.

Comments (9)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    Public health experts are prone to think (and say) that if seniors had better primary care and better post-operative instructions, they would not be as likely to need to be readmitted a hospital soon after a discharge.

    However, one report suggests that when Medicare patients receive better primary and post-operative care, their readmissions go up (not down). Presumably, this is because when a medical professional is paying attention, they spot problems that should be taken care of in the hospital.

    This is anopther reason why using readmissions as a quality measure is problematic.

  2. Evan Carr says:

    Devon’s comment makes sense. It also alludes to the ineptitude and mistakes that are made so frequently in hospitals. I wonder how many of these rehospitalizations could have been avoided if their doctor 20 years ago had focused on preventive rather than reactice medicine?

  3. The Native Indian says:

    High readmission rates can be the result of low mortality rates or good access to hospital care. Indeed, some studies show that improved external care coordination and access to follow-up care actually increases readmissions. This should hardly be indicative of a failure of our health systems.

  4. Neil Caffrey says:

    “but because they have an entirely new problem that, in many cases, was caused by the trauma of being hospitalized.”

    - To say this is troubling is an understatement.

  5. Spencer says:

    Long story short: Go to the hospital if you want to get sick.

  6. Charlotte says:

    We can’t trust reasearch data/studies anymore. We can’t trust our physician’s advise. We can’t trust hospitals. What’s left?

  7. Andrew O says:

    Evan rung the bell…preventive vs. reactive medicine. If doctors would focus on the former, this issue would probably be half the issue it has become.

  8. H. James Prince says:

    Evan and Andrew:
    We pay doctors and hospitals to treat the patient’s ills, not to keep the patient well. As soon as we change how we structure payments and incentives, then we will see drastic change in the quality of healthcare.

  9. Gabriel Odom says:

    “However, one report suggests that when Medicare patients receive better primary and post-operative care, their readmissions go up (not down).”

    That is incredibly interesting. Is this statement suggesting that a large percent of the elderly patients that are not readmitted are actually patients which should have been?