Readmissions are a costly and complex problem that require multiple strategies and ongoing efforts to reduce. Research shows that, on average, 20 percent of patients in the U.S. are readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of discharge. While patients are readmitted to address medical issues, some readmissions are avoidable. For example, underlying social and behavioral factors may exacerbate medical conditions if left unaddressed. A new approach is needed to provide whole person transitional care to our patients most vulnerable to readmissions. This patient-centered approach focuses on identifying high-risk patients, understanding the contextual factors contributing to health and warm handoffs to community support.
Measure and Track Readmissions
WSHA launched a new interactive readmissions dashboard in September 2021! This dashboard allows you to track volume and frequency of readmitted patients at your facility. Data will be available through WSHA using hospital discharge data. Your individual hospital report will display all-cause and condition-specific readmissions count by month benchmarked to similar facilities in Washington State. We are working to improve the dashboard with feedback from our users. If you would like access to the dashboard please complete this form. Access is for WSHA member hospital employees so please use your hospital email address when you complete the form.
Engage Multi-Visit Patients
Four or more hospital admissions in a 12-month period denote “multi-visit patients” (MVPs). These patients are likely experiencing medical, social and behavioral challenges. Building on the AHRQ ASPIRE toolkit, teams can learn to flag patients in real-time, engage in conversation to detect underlying contributors to readmission and link to resources. Join a cohort to learn from others implementing this model in the Pacific Northwest Region.
Establish Partnerships in the Community
Screening patients for social determinants of health (transportation, food insecurity, housing, etc.) will identify barriers which may lead to poor outcomes. Warm handoffs are needed to build a sense of trust and rapport with providers and community resources outside of the hospital setting. Conduct a Health Equity Organizational Assessment to understand how patient social and demographic data at your facility can inform your work.
Toolkits & Resources
ASPIRE Toolkit: Designing and Delivering Whole-Person Transitional Care
For assistance detecting and exploring the root cause of readmissions health disparities, review the CMS Guide to Reducing Disparities in Readmissions.
Developed by the WSHA Readmissions Workgroup, adapted from Pierce Co. and KC4TP Warm Handover Guide. This form can be used to support handoff between hospital and SNF staff. Hospital to SNF Warm Handover Guide
Consider refresher training for transition staff using the Teach-back Training technique.