Hospital readmissions are influenced by the policy environment, local health care markets, membership in integrated systems that offer a continuum of care, and the priorities set by leaders, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund.
The report examined four hospitals with low readmission rates from across the country. The report found that these hospitals all aim to achieve clinical excellence and invest in quality improvement strategies.
Key lessons learned to reduce readmissions include:
- Invest in quality first: care for patients correctly and readmission rates fall, performance on quality measures improves, and savings are realized as byproducts.
- Use health information technology to improve quality and integrate care.
- Begin care management and discharge planning early, target high-risk patients, and ensure frequent communication across the care team.
- Maintain a “lifeline” with high-risk patients after discharge through telephone calls, telemonitoring, or other practices.
(Source: The Commonwealth Fund, http://www.whynotthebest.org, April, 2011)