Improved Discharge Communications Not Associated with Reduction in Readmissions, Study Finds

May 1, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Improving communication between inpatient and outpatient providers at the time of discharge may not help to prevent 30-day hospital readmissions in the absence of other improvements, concludes a study published online March 25, 2013, in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study, which included an analysis of 6,635 hospitalizations at a 1,000-bed urban, academic medical center, found that successful direct communication between inpatient and outpatient providers occurred in 36.7% of the cases studied. According to the study’s results, 14% of patients were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days. The most frequently reported reason for lack of direct communication was the healthcare provider's perception that the discharge summary was adequate. After adjusting for all other variables, predictors of direct communication included being cared for by hospitalists without house staff, high expected chance of 30-day readmission, and insurance by Medicare and private insurance companies when compared with Medicaid.

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