Improving care transitions shouldn't only focus on readmissions but also emergency department visits, according to a study in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association. Yale School of Medicine researchers found that ED visits, which are not currently measured by hospital readmission rates, make up about 40 percent of all visits back to the hospital within 30 days after discharge, according to a Yale News statement.
Patients who came back to the emergency room most often had problems related to mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, and prostate issues. Researchers suggested including ED visits as a quality measure. "If we don't expand our view of post-acute care from readmissions to include emergency room visits, we will severely underestimate patient needs and system resources required to care for them," said lead study author Anita Vashi, a Robert Wood Johnson clinical scholar at Yale. Study abstract