Heart Failure: Lower Readmissions When Hospitals Follow Up

Heart Failure: Lower Readmissions When Hospitals Follow Up

Reported May 05, 2010

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — A simple follow-up evaluation may be the key to efficient and high quality hospital care for those with heart failure. A new study finds hospitals that follow up with heart failure patients within one week of being discharged have significantly lower readmission rates after 30 days.

Twenty percent of Medicare beneficiaries are re-hospitalized within 30 days and more than 30 percent within 90 days. Heart failure is the most common diagnosis associated with 30-day readmission among Medicare beneficiaries. Early outpatient follow-up after hospitalization has been proposed as a means of reducing readmission rates.



Researchers examined variation in post-discharge physician follow-up and the relationship between rates of early follow-up and patient outcomes. The study included Medicare patients 65 years or older who were admitted for heart failure and discharged to home from hospitals participating in a quality improvement program.

“Early evaluation after discharge is critical,” the study authors wrote. “This evaluation should include a review of therapeutic changes and a thorough assessment of the patient’s clinical status outside of the highly structured hospital setting. Our findings highlight a need for improvement and greater uniformity in coordination of care from inpatient to outpatient settings.”

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, May 5, 2010