MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hallie Prescott, MD, MSc
Clinical Lecturer, Internal Medicine
Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine
University of Michigan Health System
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Prescott: The post-hospital period has been widely recognized as a vulnerable time for patients. In particular, patients who survive sepsis are frequently readmitted to the hospital in the following three months.
In this study, we examined data from 2,600 survivors of sepsis, a severe infection that leads to organ failure. About 42% of the sepsis patients were readmitted in the next 90 days, similar to the rate seen for patients hospitalized for other acute conditions.
However, the reasons for hospital readmission after sepsis are different. A greater number of patients are re-hospitalized for “ambulatory-care sensitive conditions”, which are conditions that could potentially be prevented or treated early in the outpatient setting to avoid a hospital stay.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Prescott: Patients surviving sepsis frequently end up back in the hospital, and many of these repeat hospitalizations may be preventable. Because hospitals currently face financial penalties from Medicare for high rates of readmission after certain conditions, much of the debate focuses on readmissions as measures of the quality of inpatient care.
However, this report suggests that we should focus on building better systems to ensure that patients get timely outpatient care during the critical weeks to months after a sepsis hospitalization.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Prescott: A small number of potentially preventable conditions accounts for many of the re-hospitalizations after sepsis. Therefore, it may be possible to develop tools that give personalized risk calculations for a handful of common conditions experienced by sepsis survivors. This would allow primary care physicians to focus their limited time towards patients’ most immediate health threats. Better risk prediction tools and good primary care could go a long way towards improving the recovery after sepsis.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hallie Prescott, MD, MSc (2015). Personalized Risk Calculations May Reduce Readmissions Of Sepsis Survivors