Do heart failure interventions affect readmissions?

Most strategies hospitals employ to improve care processes aren't working to curb unplanned heart failure readmissions, according to researchers at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Published in Circulation: Heart Failure, the study found that most interventions didn't significantly affect heart failure readmissions, according to researchers who surveyed 100 facilities participating in the federal Get With the Guidelines-Heart Failure Registry program, Cardiovascular Business reported.

Although heart failure hospitalizations have dropped in the past decade, readmission rates are still high. According to recent Hospital Compare data, heart failure readmissions only dropped by 0.1 percentage point to 24.7 percent.

Researchers found that neither inpatient care nor general quality-improvement process changes affected 30-day readmission rates, although they noted that discharge and transitional care did show modest effects on readmissions.

According to a separate Commonwealth Fund-supported study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, most hospitals infrequently use recommended strategies to reduce risk of readmission among patients with heart failure or acute myocardial infarction. A majority of the hospitals failed to implement recommended discharge and follow-up strategies, such as having a process to notify outpatient physicians within 48 hours of a patient's discharge (37.3 percent) or a procedure to follow up on test results post-discharge (35.8 percent).

Medicare penalties for readmissions are set to go into effect on Monday.

For more information:
- check out the study abstract
- read the Cardiovascular Business article

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