(HealthDay)—Failed communication attempts are associated with readmission among Medicare beneficiaries with congestive heart failure, although the correlation is no longer significant after adjustment for other variables, according to a study published online June 26 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Matthew J. Press, M.D., from the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving 5,698 Medicare beneficiaries with who received home health care from the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) after hospital discharge. The authors examined the correlation between patient-level measures of communication failure and all-cause readmission.

The researchers found observed high external validity using to identify failed communication attempts (kappa, 0.850; P < 0.001). Per episode of home care there was a mean of 8 percent of communication attempts that failed. Higher failure rates were seen for black patients, and lower rates were seen for patients from higher median income ZIP codes. After adjustment for patient, nurse, physician, and hospital factors, the correlation between communication failure and readmission was no longer significant.

"Natural language processing of electronic medical records can be used to identify failed communication attempts between home health nurses and physicians, but other variables mostly explained the association between and readmission," the authors write.

Several authors are employees of VNSNY; funding for the study was provided by the Aetna Foundation.