There has been some disgruntlement among hospitalists about the use of readmissions as a sign of needing improvement in inpatient care systems. For many patients with chronic illness such as children with oncologic diseases, readmissions are part of a protocol for administering chemotherapy and thus should not be viewed as an undesirable entity.
Yet there are some readmissions such as for children with asthma that perhaps might be preventable –but in what ways? Toomey et al. (peds.2015-4182) used medical records and interviews with almost 1500 parents and guardians as well as teen patients, hospitalists, and primary care providers to determine if a readmission was preventable and then looked for risk factors associated with these preventable hospitalizations using multivariate regression analysis. The authors determined that one quarter of the 305 children readmitted to one freestanding children’s hospital over a three month period were preventable, with preventable readmissions occurring sooner than later.
The authors go on to identify hospital and patient factors associated with potential preventability but as to what those factors are—we admit that we would prefer you read the article rather than have us tell you the highlights in this blog. To further interpret the findings in this study, we asked hospitalists Drs. Mark Brittan, Samir Shah and Katherine Auger (peds.2016-1643) from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to comment on this study in an accompanying commentary.
Once you do read the study and commentary, we wonder if you will become more attentive to the possible risks of readmission and take even more steps than you currently are to prevent such readmissions from occurring.