December 13, 2021

Emergency departments affect postop readmission rates

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study by researchers at Indiana University and the University of Michigan finds that emergency departments (EDs) are a significant factor in preventing readmissions after major surgery.

Researchers analyzed the electronic health records of nearly 2 million Medicare beneficiaries who had one of five surgical procedures (ie, percutaneous coronary intervention, colectomy, hip replacement, coronary artery bypass grafting, or aortic valve repair or replacement) in 2,894 hospitals between 2008 and 2011.


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The researchers found that the proportion of patients readmitted from the ED was almost three times higher in hospitals with very high readmission rates, compared with those with low readmission rates (32.2% vs 12%).

At the same time, hospitals with a low percentage of readmitted patients from the ED did not show an increased rate of readmission within 7 days of ED discharge.

The findings suggest that some EDs deliver care that prevents readmissions without an increased short-term risk of readmission after ED discharge, the researchers say. Understanding those factors will help guide future interventions, such as telehealth.

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