Author Interviews, Cancer Research, CMAJ, Emergency Care / 29.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48843" align="alignleft" width="200"]Keerat Grewal, MD, MSc, FRCPC Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Medicine Institute Mount Sinai Hospital Toronto, ON Dr. Grewal[/caption] Keerat Grewal, MD, MSc, FRCPC Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Medicine Institute Mount Sinai Hospital Toronto, ON  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Patients with cancer have complex care requirements and often use the emergency department. The purpose of our study was to determine whether continuity of care, cancer expertise, or both, impact outcomes among cancer patients in the emergency setting. Using administrative data we looked at adult patients with cancer who received chemotherapy or radiation therapy in the 30 days prior to an emergency department visit. 
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety / 16.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48537" align="alignleft" width="145"]Karen Joynt Maddox, MD, MPHAssistant Professor of MedicineWashington University Brown School of Social Work Dr. Joynt Maddox[/caption] Karen Joynt Maddox, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine Washington University Brown School of Social Work  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program has been controversial, in part because until 2019 it did not take social risk into account when judging hospitals’ performance. In the 21st Century Cures Act, Congress required that CMS change the program to judge hospitals only against other hospitals in their “peer group” based on the proportion of their patients who are poor. As a result, starting with fiscal year 2019, the HRRP divides hospitals into five peer groups and then assesses performance and assigns penalties. 
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Nursing / 29.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47212" align="alignleft" width="150"]Marianne Weiss DNSc RN READI study Principal Investigator Professor of Nursing and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare / Sister Rosalie Klein Professor of Women’s Health Marquette University College of Nursing Milwaukee Wi, 53201-1881 Dr. Weiss[/caption] Marianne Weiss DNSc RN READI study Principal Investigator Professor of Nursing and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare / Sister Rosalie Klein Professor of Women’s Health Marquette University College of Nursing Milwaukee Wi, 53201-1881 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our team of researchers has been studying the association of patient readiness for discharge and readmission for several years. We have previously documented that patients who had ‘low readiness’ on our Readiness for Hospital Discharge Scale were more likely to be readmitted. In this study we added structured protocols for discharge readiness assessment and nurse actions to usual discharge care practices to determine the optimal protocol configuration to achieve improved post-discharge utilization outcomes. In our primary analysis that included patients from a broad range of patient diagnoses, we did not find a significant effect on readmission from adding any of the discharge readiness assessment protocols. The patient sample came from Magnet hospitals, known for high quality care, and the average all-cause readmission rates were low (11.3%). In patients discharged from high-readmission units (>11.3%), one of the protocols was effective in reducing the likelihood of readmission. In this protocol, the nurse obtained the patients self-report of discharge readiness to inform the nurse’s discharge readiness assessment and actions in finalizing preparations for discharge. This patient-informed discharge readiness assessment protocol produced a nearly 2 percentage point reduction in readmissions. Not unexpectedly, in lower readmission settings, we did not see a reduction in readmission; not all readmissions are preventable. In the last phase of study, we informed nurses of a cut-off score for ‘low readiness’ and added a prescription for nurse action only in cases of ‘low readiness’; this addition to the protocol added burden to the nurses’ daily work and eliminated the beneficial effects, perhaps because it limited the nurse’s attention to only a subset of patients. 
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Primary Care / 28.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Dawn Wiest, 7-day pledge after hospital admissionDawn Wiest, PhD Director, Action Research & Evaluation Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Understanding the role of care transitions after hospitalization in reducing avoidable readmissions, the Camden Coalition launched the 7-Day Pledge in 2014 in partnership with primary care practices in Camden, NJ to address patient and provider barriers to timely post-discharge primary care follow-up. To evaluate whether our program was associated with lower hospital readmissions, we used all-payer hospital claims data from five regional health systems. We compared readmissions for patients who had a primary care follow-up within seven days with similar patients who had a later or no follow-up using propensity score matching.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Outcomes & Safety / 17.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46093" align="alignleft" width="142"]Teryl K. Nuckols, MD Vice Chair, Clinical Research Director, Division of General Internal Medicine Cedars Sinai Los Angeles, California Dr. Nuckols[/caption] Teryl K. Nuckols, MD Vice Chair, Clinical Research Director, Division of General Internal Medicine Cedars Sinai Los Angeles, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) penalizes hospitals with increased 30-day readmission rates among seniors admitted with heart failure (HF).  Heart failure readmission rates declined markedly following the implementation of this policy. Two facts have raised concerns about whether the HRRP might have also inadvertently increased 30-day heart failure mortality rates. First, before the policy was implemented, hospitals with higher heart failure readmission rates had lower 30-day HF mortality rates, suggesting that readmissions are often necessary and beneficial in this population. Second, 30-day HF mortality rose nationally after the HRRP was implemented, and the timing of the increase has suggested a possible link to the policy. Are hospitals turning patients away, putting them at risk of death, or is the increase in heart failure mortality just a coincidence? To answer this question, we compared trends in 30-day HF mortality rates between penalized hospitals and non-penalized hospitals because 30-day HF readmissions declined much more at hospitals subject to penalties under this policy.
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Cost of Health Care / 25.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "patient in hospital bed with nursing staff gathered around" by Penn State is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0Andrea Gruneir, PhD Department of Family Medicine University of Alberta Edmonton, AB Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Hospital readmissions – when a patient is discharged from hospital but then returns to hospital in a short period of time – are known to be a problem, both for the patients and for the larger health system. Hospital readmissions have received considerable attention and there have been a number of initiatives to try to reduce them, but with mixed success. Older adults are among the most vulnerable group for hospital readmission. Older adults are also the largest users of continuing care services, such as home care and long-term care homes (also known as nursing homes). Yet, few large studies have really considered how older adults with different pathways through hospital compare on the risk of hospital readmission. In our study, we take a population-level approach and use health administrative data to create a large cohort of older adults who were hospitalized in Ontario between 2008 and 2015. For each of the 701,527 patients in our study, we identified where they received care before the hospitalization (in the community or in long-term care) and where they received care after discharge (in the community, in the community with home care, or in long-term care). 
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Medicare, UCSF / 01.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43578" align="alignleft" width="150"]Andrew B. Bindman, MD Professor of Medicine PRL- Institute for Health Policy Studies University of California San Francisco Dr. Bindman[/caption] Andrew B. Bindman, MD Professor of Medicine PRL- Institute for Health Policy Studies University of California San Francisco MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use and impact of a payment code for transitional care management services which was implemented by Medicare in. The transition of patients from hospitals or skilled nursing facilities back to the community often involves a change in a patient’s health care provider and introduces risks in communication which can contribute to lapses in health care quality and safety. Transitional care management services include contacting the patient within 2 business days after discharge and seeing the patient in the office within 7-14 days. Medicare implemented payment for transitional care management services with the hope that this would increase the delivery of these services believing that they could reduce readmissions, reduce costs and improve health outcomes.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA / 21.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sahil Agrawal, MBBS MD Division of Cardiology, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Bethlehem, PA Dr Lohit Garg MD Division of Cardiology Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Readmissions among advanced heart failure patients are common and contribute significantly to heath care related costs. Rates and causes of readmissions, and their associated costs among patients after durable left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation have not been studied in a contemporary multi-institutional setting. We studied the incidence, predictors, causes, and costs of 30-day readmissions after LVAD implantation using Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD) in our recently published study.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JAMA / 13.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38236" align="alignleft" width="150"]Ankur Gupta, MD, PhD Division of Cardiovascular Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart & Vascular Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts Dr. Ankur Gupta[/caption] Ankur Gupta, MD, PhD Division of Cardiovascular Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart & Vascular Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), established under the Affordable Care Act, aimed to reduce readmissions from various medical conditions including heart failure - the leading cause of readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries. The program financially penalizes hospitals with high readmission rates. However, there have been concerns of unintended consequences especially on mortality due to this program. Using American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure (GWTG-HF) data linked to Medicare data, we found that the policy of reducing readmissions after heart failure hospitalizations was associated with reduction in 30-day and 1-year readmissions yet an increase in 30-day and 1-year mortality.
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, Hospital Readmissions / 30.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37751" align="alignleft" width="148"]Hsueh-Fen Chen, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Health Policy and Management College of Public Health University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR 72205 Dr. Chen[/caption] Hsueh-Fen Chen, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Health Policy and Management College of Public Health University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR 72205 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) and Hospital Value-based Purchasing (HVBP) Program in 2011 and implemented the two programs in 2013. These two programs financially motivate hospitals to reduce readmission rates and improve quality of care, efficiency, and patient experience. The Mississippi Delta Region is one of the most impoverished areas in the country, with a high proportion of minorities occupying in the region.  Additionally, these hospitals are  safety-net resources for the poor. It was largely unknown what the financial performance for the hospitals in the Mississippi Delta Region was under the HRRP and HVBP programs.

Dr. Chen and colleagues in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences compared the financial performance between Delta hospitals and non-Delta hospitals (namely, other hospitals in the nation) from 2008 through 2014 that were covered before and after the implementation of the HRRP and HVBP programs. The financial performance was measured by using the operating margin (profitability from patient care) and total margin (profitability from patient care and non-patient care)

Before the implementation of the HRRP and HVBP programs, Delta hospitals had weaker financial performance than non-Delta hospitals but their differences were not statistically significant. After the implementation of the HRRP and HVBP programs, the gap in financial performance between Delta and non-Delta hospitals became wider and significant. The unadjusted operating margin for Delta hospitals was about -4.0% in 2011 and continuously fell to -10.4% in 2014, while the unadjusted operating margin for non-Delta hospitals was about 0.1% in 2011 and dropped to -1.5% in 2014. The unadjusted total margin for Delta hospitals significantly fell from 3.6% in 2012 to 1.1% in 2013 and reached 0.2% in 2014, while the unadjusted total margin for non-Delta hospitals remained about 5.3% from 2012 through 2014. After adjusting hospital and community characteristics, the difference in financial performance between Delta and non-Delta remained significant.

Author Interviews, CMAJ, Cost of Health Care, Health Care Systems, Hospital Readmissions / 02.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37278" align="alignleft" width="125"]Dr. Lauren Lapointe-Shaw, MD Physician at University Health Network Department of Medicine University of Toronto  Dr. Lapointe-Shaw[/caption] Dr. Lauren Lapointe-Shaw, MD Physician at University Health Network Department of Medicine University of Toronto  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Readmissions after hospital discharge are common and costly. We would like to reduce these as much as possible. Early physician follow-up post hospital discharge is one possible strategy to reduce readmissions. To this end, incentives to outpatient physicians for early follow-up have been introduced in the U.S. and Canada. We studied the effect of such an incentive, introduced to Ontario, Canada, in 2006.
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Yale / 27.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nihar R. Desai, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Yale School of Medicine Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation Yale New Haven Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Reducing rates of readmissions after hospitalization has been a major focus for patients, providers, payers, and policymakers because they reflect, at least partially, the quality of care and care transitions, and account for substantial costs. The Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) was enacted under Section 3025 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in March 2010 and imposed financial penalties beginning in October 2012 for hospitals with higher than expected readmissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), congestive heart failure (HF), and pneumonia among their fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries. In recent years, readmission rates have fallen nationally, and for both target (AMI, HF, pneumonia) and non-target conditions. We were interested in determining whether the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) associated with different changes in readmission rates for targeted and non-targeted conditions for penalized vs non-penalized hospitals?
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions, Surgical Research / 04.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_27659" align="alignleft" width="125"]Christian A. McNeely, M.D. Resident Physician - Internal Medicine Barnes-Jewish Hospital Washington University Medical Center Dr. Christian McNeely[/caption] Christian A. McNeely, M.D. Resident Physician - Internal Medicine Barnes-Jewish Hospital Washington University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Prior research has demonstrated that readmission in the first 30 days after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is common, reported around one in six or seven Medicare beneficiaries, and that many are potentially preventable. Since 2000, there have been significant changes in the management of coronary artery disease and the use of PCI. Additionally, in the last decade, readmission rates have become a major focus of research, quality improvement and a public health issue, with multiple resulting national initiatives/programs which may be affecting care. Therefore, in this study, we sought to examine contemporary trends in readmission characteristics and associated outcomes of patients who underwent PCI using the Medicare database from 2000-2012.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions, Surgical Research / 31.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_27509" align="alignleft" width="200"]Jason H. Wasfy, MD, MPhil Assistant Medical Director, Massachusetts General Physicians Organization Director of Quality and Analytics Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center Dr. Jason Wasfy[/caption] Jason H. Wasfy, MD, MPhil Assistant Medical Director, Massachusetts General Physicians Organization Director of Quality and Analytics Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Reducing preventable readmissions after PCI is a way to both improve the quality of care for our patients and improve value for patients with coronary artery disease. Through a variety of tactics, we were able to reduce the 30 day readmission rate for patients after PCI by nearly half. Keep in mind that this is only the readmission rate to our hospital, so we will need to confirm these results with data including patients who may have been readmitted to other hospitals after a PCI at Mass General.
Author Interviews, Compliance, Hospital Readmissions / 13.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_26091" align="alignleft" width="200"]Jennifer Polinski, Senior Director Enterprise Evaluation and Population Health Analytics CVS Health Woonsocket, Rhode Island Jennifer Polinski[/caption] Jennifer Polinski, Senior Director Enterprise Evaluation and Population Health Analytics CVS Health Woonsocket, Rhode Island MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Unnecessary and often preventable hospital readmissions are a growing and costly issue. An estimated one in seven patients discharged from a hospital is readmitted within 30 days, and startlingly, readmissions are associated with more than $41 billion in additional health care costs per year. In addition, evidence suggests that approximately 66 percent of hospital readmissions are the result of adverse health events related to medication non-adherence.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions, JACC, NYU, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 12.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew Durstenfeld MD Department of Medicine Saul Blecker, MD, MHS Department of Population Health and Department of Medicine New York University School of Medicine NYU Langone Medical Center New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Racial and ethnic disparities continue to be a problem in cardiovascular disease outcomes. In heart failure, minority patients have more readmissions despite lower mortality after hospitalization for heart failure. Some authors have attributed these racial differences to differences in access to care, although this has never been proven. Our study examined patients hospitalized within the municipal hospital system in New York City to see whether racial and ethnic disparities in readmissions and mortality were present among a diverse population with similar access to care. We found that black and Asian patients had lower one-year mortality than white patients; concurrently black and Hispanic patients had higher rates of readmission. These disparities persisted even after accounting for demographic and clinical differences among racial and ethnic groups.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Hospital Readmissions, Outcomes & Safety, UT Southwestern / 04.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Oanh Kieu Nguyen, MD, MAS | Assistant Professor UT Southwestern Medical Center Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Outcomes and Health Services Research Dallas, TXOanh Kieu Nguyen, MD, MAS | Assistant Professor UT Southwestern Medical Center Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Outcomes and Health Services Research Dallas, TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Nguyen: The impetus for this study was Steven Brill’s 2013 Time magazine award-winning article, “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us.” This report investigated inflated charges for hospital bills, and and suggested that a major driver of irrationally high charges was the disproportionate negotiating power of hospitals, as evidenced through their high profit margins. As hospital physicians, our reaction was “But what if hospitals that make more money are delivering more value and better outcomes to patients? If that’s the case, wouldn’t most people say that their profits justifiably earned?” Surprisingly, we found that no one had really looked at this issue in a systematic way. We set out to answer this question using hospital financial data from California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) and outcomes data on 30-day readmissions and mortality for congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction (‘heart attacks’), and pneumonia from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare website. California has more hospitals than any other state other than Texas, and also has a wide diversity of hospital types. The OSHPD financial data are also audited, so we thought these would be more reliable than using data from other sources. Because the outcomes reported on Hospital Compare are viewable by the general public, we thought hospitals would be most motivated to target improvements in these outcomes. We found that there was almost no association between how much money a hospital made and its subsequent performance on outcomes. The exception to this was we found that hospitals that had better finances reported higher rates of 30-day mortality for congestive heart failure, which was counterintuitive. We’re not sure why this was the case but speculate that it is possible that hospitals with better finances take care of sicker heart failure patients because they have more advanced (and more expensive) treatments available. Additionally, we looked to see if hospitals with lower readmissions rates subsequently made less money. This is a specific area of policy concern given federal penalties in the U.S. for excessive hospital readmissions. Many critics of these penalties have argued that reducing readmissions makes no financial sense for hospitals, since readmissions still generate hospital revenue despite the penalties. Thus, reducing readmissions would reduce a key source of hospital revenue and lead to poorer hospital finances. However, our analysis showed that lower readmissions rates were not associated with poorer hospital finances, as has been feared. 
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Orthopedics, Surgical Research / 11.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_22572" align="alignleft" width="120"]Chairman and Surgeon-in-Chief Department of Surgery Saint Barnabas Medical Center Professor of Surgery New Jersey Medical School Rutgers University Dr. Ronald Chamberlain[/caption] Ronald S. Chamberlain, MD, MPA, FACS Chairman and Surgeon-in-Chief Department of Surgery Saint Barnabas Medical Center Professor of Surgery New Jersey Medical School Rutgers University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Chamberlain:  With the rapidly growing arthritic, aging, and obese population, total hip replacement (THR) has become the most commonly performed orthopedic procedure in the United States (US).  The Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama imposed financial penalties for excess readmissions following certain procedures and diagnoses. While the initial program aimed to reduce readmissions for heart failure, pneumonia, and acute myocardial infarction (AMI), the program expanded to include THR in 2015. With current research estimating a 10%, 30-day readmission rate following a total or partial hip replacement, this study sought to identify factors associated with readmission and to create a scale which could reliably stratify preoperative readmission risk.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, Hand Washing, Health Care Systems, JAMA, UCSF / 07.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_22366" align="alignleft" width="133"]Dr. Andrew Auerbach MD Professor of Medicine in Residence Director of Research Division of Hospital Medicine UCSF Dr. Andrew Auerbach[/caption] Dr. Andrew Auerbach MD Professor of Medicine in Residence Director of Research Division of Hospital Medicine UCSF and [caption id="attachment_22367" align="alignleft" width="100"]Jeffrey L. Schnipper, MD, MPH Associate Physician, Brigham and Women's Hospital Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Department of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Dr. Jeffrey Scnhipper[/caption] Jeffrey L. Schnipper, MD, MPH Associate Physician, Brigham and Women's Hospital Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Department of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The Affordable Care Act required the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a program to reduce what has been dubbed a “revolving door of re-hospitalizations.” Effective October 2012, 1 percent of every Medicare payment was deducted for a hospital that was determined to have excessive readmissions. This percentage has subsequently increased to up to 3 percent. Penalties apply to readmitted Medicare patients with some heart conditions, pneumonia, chronic lung disease, and hip and knee replacements. Unfortunately, few data exist to guide us in determining how many readmissions are preventable, and in those cases how they might have been prevented. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Our main findings were that 27 percent of readmissions were preventable, and that the most common contributors to readmission were being discharged too soon, poor coordination between inpatient and outpatient care providers, particularly in the Emergency Departments and in arranging post acute care.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions / 15.12.2015

[caption id="attachment_20102" align="alignleft" width="125"]Javed Butler MD MPH Chief, Division of Cardiology Stony Brook University Health Sciences Center SUNY at Stony Brook, NY Dr. Javed Butler[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Javed Butler MD MPH Chief, Division of Cardiology Stony Brook University Health Sciences Center SUNY at Stony Brook, NY Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Butler: There is a lot of emphasis on reducing the risk of readmission after heart failure hospitalization. The main focus is on early readmissions as the risk for readmission is highest earlier post discharge. In this study, we described the fact that certainly there is some increased risk post discharge, the majority of the risk is actually dependent on the patient and disease characteristics at the time of discharge as opposed to true reduction in risk over time, which is partially related to differential attrition of high risk patients earlier post discharge.
Author Interviews, Infections, Lancet, Outcomes & Safety, Respiratory / 22.10.2015

[caption id="attachment_18646" align="alignleft" width="125"]Yuichiro Shindo, M.D., Ph.D. Visiting Researcher Department of Anesthesiology Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, MO Assistant Professor Institute for Advanced Research, Nagoya University, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine Showa-ku, Nagoya Japan Dr. Yuichiro Shindo[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yuichiro Shindo, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor Institute for Advanced Research, Nagoya University, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine Showa-ku, Nagoya Japan Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Shindo: Appropriate initial antibiotic treatment is essential for the treatment of pneumonia.  However, many patients may develop adverse outcomes, even if they receive appropriate initial antibiotics.  To our knowledge, there have been no studies that clearly demonstrated the risk factors in patients who receive appropriate antibiotic treatment.  If these factors are clarified, we can identify those patients with pneumonia for whom adjunctive therapy other than antibiotic treatment can prove beneficial in terms of improved outcomes.  This study aimed to clarify the risk factors for 30-day mortality in patients who received appropriate initial antibiotic treatment and elucidate potential candidates for adjunctive therapy. In this study, the 30-day mortality in 579 pneumonia patients who received appropriate initial antibiotics was 10.5%.  The independent risk factors included albumin < 3.0 mg/dL, nonambulatory status, pH < 7.35, respiration rate ≥ 30/min, and blood urea nitrogen ≥ 20 mg/dL.  The 30-day mortality for the number of risk factors was 0.8% (0), 1.2% (1), 16.8% (2), 22.5% (3), and 43.8% (4–5).
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA / 17.09.2015

J. Michael McWilliams MD, PhD Associate Professor andMedicalResearch.com Interview with: J. Michael McWilliams MD, PhD Associate Professor and Dr. Michael Barnett MD Researcher and General Medicine Fellow Dept. of Health Care Policy Harvard Medical School Boston MADr. Michael Barnett MD Researcher and General Medicine Fellow Dept. of Health Care Policy Harvard Medical School Boston MA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: The financial impact of Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program on hospitals is growing.  In this year’s round of penalties, nearly 2,600 hospitals were collectively fined $420 million for excess readmissions. There has been concern that the risk-adjustment methods used by Medicare to calculate a hospital’s expected readmission rate is inadequate, meaning that hospitals disproportionately serving sicker and more disadvantaged patients are being penalized because of the populations they serve rather than their quality of care.  Specifically, Medicare accounts only for some diagnoses, age and sex but no other clinical or social characteristics of patients admitted to the hospital. No study to date has examined the impact adjusting for a comprehensive set of clinical and social factors on differences in readmission rates between hospitals. We did this by using detailed survey data from the Health and Retirement Study linked to information on admissions and readmissions in survey participants’ Medicare claims data.  We then compared differences in readmission rates between patients admitted to hospitals in the highest vs. lowest quintile of publicly reported readmission rates, before vs. after adjusting for a rich set of patient characteristics.  These included self-reported health, functional status, cognition, depressive symptoms, household income and assets, race and ethnicity, educational attainment, and social supports. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: Our two most important findings were: 1) Patients admitted to hospitals with higher readmission rates are sicker and more socially disadvantaged in a variety of ways than patients admitted to hospitals with lower readmission rates. 2) After adjusting for all measurable patient factors that are not accounted for in standard Medicare adjustments, the difference in readmission rates between hospitals with high vs. low readmission rates fell by nearly 50%.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions / 19.08.2015

Jason H. Wasfy, MD Assistant Medical Director Massachusetts General Physicians Organization Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jason H. Wasfy, MD Assistant Medical Director Massachusetts General Physicians Organization Massachusetts General Hospital   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wasfy: Hospital readmission after angioplasty (heart stents) is very common in the United States and is associated with poorer patient outcomes and substantial health care costs.  We can predict which patients will get readmitted, but only with moderate accuracy.  Analyzing the electronic medical records of large health care systems may provide clues about how to predict readmissions more accurately. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Wasfy: Patients who are anxious or have visited the emergency department frequently before the procedure may be at higher risk of readmission.  For those patients, reassurance and support may help them stay out of the hospital.  This has the potential to improve health outcomes after angioplasty and improve value in cardiology care generally.  High quality care for patients with coronary artery disease involves not only procedures and medicines, but also creating a support system for patients to cope with their disease.
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Pediatrics / 11.08.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alisa Khan, MD Pediatric hospitalist Boston Children's Hospital and Instructor of Pediatrics Harvard Medical School Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Khan: Patients can be readmitted to the same hospital they were discharged from or to a different hospital.  In adults, readmissions to different hospitals make up about 20% of all readmissions.  We don’t know a lot about how often different-hospital readmissions happen in children. Insurance companies know hospitals’ true readmission rates (which include when a hospital’s patients are readmitted to the same hospital and when they are readmitted to a different hospital).  However, hospitals don’t know their true readmission rates since they don’t have access to the full information that insurance companies have. If hospitals don’t know their true rates, they may think they are doing better at preventing readmissions than they really (for instance, if all their discharged patients are simply being readmitted to a different hospital).  Hospitals may also draw incorrect conclusions when they compare themselves to one another (like through benchmarking), and may not be able to predict whether they will be subject to penalties by insurers for having excessively high readmission rates. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Khan: We found that about 1 in 7 pediatric readmissions in New York over a 5-year period were to a different hospital than the hospital the patient was discharged from.   The percentage of different-hospital readmissions varied by hospital and patient characteristics.  Patients who were admitted to non-children’s hospitals, lower-volume hospitals, or urban hospitals had a higher chance of being readmitted to a different hospital, as did patients who were younger, white, privately insured, or who had certain chronic conditions (like mental health, neurologic, and circulatory conditions). We also found a lot of variability in how much individual hospitals would underestimate their true readmission rates if they only used this incomplete same-hospital readmission info.  Some hospitals would underestimate their true readmission rates by only 0.6 relative percentage points while others would underestimate them by 68 points.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Emergency Care, Hospital Readmissions / 11.05.2015

dr-brian-roweMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Brian Rowe, MD, MSc, CCFP(EM), FCCP Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Rowe: Frequent users are also called “familiar faces” or “heavy users” and they represent an important sub-group of patients in the emergency setting, with often complex needs that contribute to overcrowding and excess health care costs. The evidence suggests that frequent users account for up to one in 12 patients seeking emergency care, and for around one in four of all visits. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Dr. Rowe: Frequent users of emergency department care are more than twice as likely to die, be admitted to hospital, or require other outpatient treatment as infrequent users, concludes an analysis of the available evidence, published in Emergency Medicine Journal. These conclusions are based on a thorough search of seven electronic databases of relevant research relating to the frequency and outcomes of emergency department use by adults. Out of a total of more than 4000 potential studies, 31 relevant research reports published between 1990 and 2013 were included in the final analysis. Frequent users were variably defined as visiting emergency care departments from four or more times up to 20 times a year. Among the seven studies looking at deaths, the analysis showed that frequent attenders at emergency care departments were more than twice as likely to die as those who rarely sought emergency care. Most of the studies included hospital admission as an outcome, and these showed that frequent users were around 2.5 times as likely to be admitted as infrequent users. Ten studies looked at use of other hospital outpatient care, and these showed that frequent users were more than 2.5 times as likely to require at least one outpatient clinic after their visit to the emergency care department.
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, Mental Health Research / 26.03.2015

Brian K. Ahmedani, PhD, LMSW Research Scientist Henry Ford Health System Center for Health Policy & Health Services Research Detroit, MI 48202MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian K. Ahmedani, PhD, LMSW Research Scientist Henry Ford Health System Center for Health Policy & Health Services Research Detroit, MI 48202 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ahmedani: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have begun penalizing hospitals for excessive all-cause hospital readmissions within 30 days after discharge for pneumonia, heart failure, and myocardial infarction.  We wanted to determine the influence of comorbid mental health and substance use conditions on the rate of 30-day hospital readmissions for individuals with these conditions.  Overall, individuals with a comorbid mental health condition were readmitted to the hospital within 30-days approximately 5% more often than those without one (21.7% versus 16.5%).  Comorbid depression and anxiety were associated with a 30-day readmission rate of more than 23% each, overall.
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Hospital Readmissions, Infections, JAMA, University of Michigan / 11.03.2015

Hallie Prescott, MD, MSc Clinical Lecturer, Internal Medicine Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine University of Michigan Health System Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800MedicalResearch.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.