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Shorter Hospital Stays Equal Higher Readmission Rates

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 6:11am

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association from researchers at Duke University reveals that 14.5% of American patients who were admitted for acute myocardial infarction were readmitted within 30 days. Patients in other countries were readmitted only 9.9% of the time, a significant difference. (p = 0.001)

Patients in the US had significantly shorter initial hospitalization lengths of stay [LOS], 3 days vs. 6 days. The authors concluded that the short initial hospitalization LOS is highly likely to be the cause of the increased rate of readmission.

Why are patients being readmitted in such high numbers? In a press release the senior author of the MI study, Dr. Manesh R. Patel said, “In the United States, care is episodic, not always coordinated, and it's not clear in many cases whether the patient is seen again by the same doctor or care team within the first seven days after discharge.” Can you say “hospitalist”? The same doctor may not even see the patient every day in the hospital. That’s how the hospitalist model works.

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