Reductions in Readmission Rates Are Associated With Modest Improvements in Patient-reported Health Gains Following Hip and Knee Replacement in England
Although many hospital readmission reduction initiatives have been introduced globally, health care systems ultimately aim to improve patients’ health and well-being. We examined whether the hospitals that report greater success in reducing readmissions also see greater improvements in patient-reported outcomes.Research Design:
We examined hospital groups (Trusts) that provided hip replacement or knee replacement surgery in England between April 2010 and February 2013. For each Trust, we calculated risk-adjusted 30-day readmission rates from administrative datasets. We also obtained changes in patient-reported health between presurgical assessment and 6-month follow-up, using general health EuroQuol five dimensions questionaire (EQ-5D) and EuroQuol visual analogue scales (EQ-VAS) and procedure-specific (Oxford Hip and Knee Scores) measures. Panel models were used to assess whether changes over time in risk-adjusted readmission rates were associated with changes over time in risk-adjusted health gains.Results:
Each percentage point reduction in the risk-adjusted readmission rate for hip replacement was associated with an additional health gain of 0.004 for EQ-5D [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.002–0.006], 0.39 for EQ-VAS (95% CI, 0.26–0.52), and 0.32 for Oxford Hip Score (95% CI, 0.15–0.27). Corresponding figures for knee replacement were 0.003 for EQ-5D (95% CI, 0.001–0.004), 0.21 for EQ-VAS (95% CI, 0.12–0.30), and 0.14 in the Oxford Knee Score (95% CI, 0.09–0.20).Conclusions:
Reductions in readmission rates were associated with modest improvements in patients’ sense of their health and well-being at the hospital group level. In particular, fears that efforts to reduce readmission rates have had unintended consequences for patients appear to be unfounded.