Re-admission rates via emergency rooms climbing among patients who have recently been hospitalized

June 1, 2011, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Emergency department patients who have recently been hospitalized are more than twice as likely to be admitted as those who have not recently been in the hospital, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania which will be presented this week at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine's annual meeting.

"Patients who return to the emergency department within seven days of hospitalization have both relatively high and increasing rates of ," says Zachary F. Meisel, MD, MPH, MSc, an and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, who led the study. "These findings are important because they come at a time when there is a great effort underway to reduce hospital re-admission rates, and they give us clues about how emergency departments can play a role in that process."

Looking at data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, Meisel and his colleagues analyzed a sample of about 2.3 million from each year between 2005 and 2008 and found that hospital re-admission rates for recently hospitalized patients increased for each year of the study -- from 28.6 percent to 38 percent. Admission rates for patients not recently hospitalized increased at a lesser rate -- from 15.3 percent to 17.2 percent. These findings do not appear to be driven by differences in age or the system of triaging sick or injured patients who seek help in the emergency room.

The findings suggest rich possibilities for future research, Meisel says. "First, these results tell us that most patients who come to an emergency department after a hospitalization are not being readmitted. This means that the emergency department plays a major role in preventing readmissions by taking care of these patients and sending them home," he says. "However, because admission decisions are often made in the , we need to better understand why recently discharged patients are more likely to be admitted to the hospital than people who have not recently been in the hospital. For example, are they being treated extra cautiously? Is there a sense on the part of emergency physicians that their inpatient physicians know these patients better and can take better care of them in the hospital?"

The data also has policy implications, the researchers suggest, for better defining the role of emergency departments in determining the disposition of recently hospitalized patients. Hospitals might, for instance, identify ways to intervene at the time of discharge to reduce use in the coming days and weeks, or improve the capacity of their emergency departments to safely discharge the back to their homes.

Explore further: Patients who see preferred doctor less likely to go for emergency hospital admission

Related Stories

Patients who see preferred doctor less likely to go for emergency hospital admission

May 17, 2011
A new study led by the University of Leicester has concluded that being able to see the GP of your choice in a doctor's surgery helps to reduce emergency hospital admissions.

Postponing care can result in serious consequences for asthma patients

May 16, 2011
Waiting to seek emergency medical care for asthma exacerbations can result in worse outcomes, including hospitalization, according to a study conducted by researchers from New York. Patients who delay regular medical care ...

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.