Hospital quality linked to readmission rates for COPD and other diseases

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Nearly one in five patients admitted to hospitals in the United States are readmitted within 30 days, at a cost of $17 billion annually. To reduce readmission rates, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) tracks readmissions for certain conditions, including heart failure, pneumonia, and most recently, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), a disease of the lungs.

To understand the relationship between hospital quality and readmissions for COPD, a Yale-led research team analyzed data from more than 3,700 hospitals. They compared COPD readmissions to several quality measures, ranging from mortality rates to patient care experiences. Examples of patient experience measures include communication with nurses, staff responsiveness, pain management, and discharge information.

The researchers report two key results. They found that readmissions for COPD correlate with readmissions for other diseases, suggesting that high readmissions rates may be due to the health status of the patient population affected by COPD. To their surprise, the researchers also uncovered an association between COPD readmission rates and patient experiences.

The researchers concluded that hospital organizational factors may play a role in readmissions for a number of diseases — not just COPD. “Focusing on better transitional care may decrease readmissions rates,” said Dr. Jose Gomez, senior author and assistant professor of pulmonary medicine.

Read the full study, published by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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