Pediatrics

Preventability of 7-Day Versus 30-Day Readmissions at an Academic Childrens Hospital




BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

The 30-day readmission rate is a common quality metric used by Medicare for adult patients. However, studies in pediatrics have shown lower readmission rates and potentially less preventability. Therefore, some question the utility of the 30-day readmission time frame in pediatrics. Our objective was to describe the characteristics of patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge over a 1-year period and determine the preventability of readmissions occurring 0 to 7 vs 8 to 30 days after discharge from a pediatric hospitalist service at an academic children’s hospital.

METHODS:

Retrospective chart review and hospital administrative data were used to gather medical characteristics, demographics, and process-level metrics for readmitted patients between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016. All readmissions were reviewed by 2 senior authors and assigned a preventability category. Subgroup analysis comparing preventability in 0-to-7– and 8-to-30–day readmissions groups was performed. Qualitative thematic analysis was performed on readmissions deemed preventable.

RESULTS:

Of 1523 discharges that occurred during the study period, 49 patients, with 65 distinct readmission encounters, were readmitted for an overall 30-day readmission rate of 4.3% (65 of 1523). Twenty-eight percent (9 of 32) of readmissions within 7 days of discharge and 12.1% (4 of 33) occurring 8 to 30 days after discharge were deemed potentially preventable (P = .13). Combined, the 30-day preventable readmission rate was 20% (13 of 65).

CONCLUSIONS:

We identified a possible association between preventability and time to readmission. If confirmed by larger studies, the 7-day, rather than 30-day, time frame may represent a better quality metric for readmitted pediatric patients.

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