How Preventable Are 30-Day Readmissions?

This first paper to result from our study suggested that as many as 30% of readmissions are preventable, and approximately half could have been prevented with steps taken in the hospital. We also identified several key factors associated with readmission — premature discharge, lack of ability to provide self-care, and challenges with triage at return to hospital — as being core to the cascade of events that cause patients to return to hospital within 30 days.

Principal Investigator
Andrew Auerbach, MD, MPH


Project Design
An observational study was conducted of 1000 general medicine patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge to 12 US academic medical centers between April 1, 2012, and March 31, 2013. We surveyed patients and physicians, reviewed documentation, and performed 2-physician case review to determine preventability of and factors contributing to readmission. We used bivariable statistics to compare preventable and nonpreventable readmissions, multivariable models to identify factors associated with potential preventability, and baseline risk factor prevalence and adjusted odds ratios (aORs) to determine the proportion of readmissions affected by individual risk factors.

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