Hospital readmissions are believed to be an indicator of inferior care and are the focus of efforts by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reduce health care cost and improve quality. Currently, hospitals do not have a way to identify surgical patients who are at high risk for unplanned readmissions.
A new study published in JAMA Surgery found that the presence of complications following surgery is a strong indicator of which patients are likely to be readmitted to the hospital in the 30 days following their procedure. Using an easy online tool – the American College of Surgeon’s Surgical Risk Calculator – health care professionals can enter patient information like age, body mass index and smoking status and get an estimate of the patient’s risk of complications following surgery.
Lead study author Laurent G. Glance, M.D. says this information can help health care teams make more informed clinical decisions following surgery. For example, if a patient is at high risk of complications and therefore re-hospitalization, a physician might decide to move the patient to the intensive care unit or a step-down unit after surgery, as opposed to a regular hospital unit that manages less sick patients.
Glance is a professor in the Departments of Anesthesiology and Public Health Sciences and vice-chair for research in Anesthesiology.
Read more about the study here.