Dramatic Reduction in 30-Day Readmissions Through High-Risk Screening and Two-Phase Interdisciplinary Care

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Thirty-day readmissions are common, serious, and costly. Most important, often they are preventable. The purpose of this quality improvement study was to evaluate an interdisciplinary, two-phase intervention to reduce 30-day readmissions among high-risk medical patients. One or two high-risk patients were selected each weekday by a hospitalist using literature-based, locally tested criteria that included common medical illnesses, active psychiatric illness, and recent or recurrent hospital admissions.


Patients admitted to 1 of 5 medical hospitalist teams were selected to receive the intervention; patients admitted to the 4 remaining teams were used for comparison. The two-phase care coordination intervention consisted of a daily interdisciplinary team meeting for the selected high-risk patients and postdischarge interventions that included outpatient care coordination until the patients’ first follow-up appointment. The care plan addressed medical/geriatric assessment, social stability, medication reconciliation, nutritional needs, care coordination including future appointments/testing, and community services. Eighty-five patients in the intervention group were compared with 84 patients from the comparison group using propensity score matching. Patient characteristics were similar at baseline.


The intervention group demonstrated a reduction in 30-day readmissions by 52% (11 vs 23, P = 0.019). Length of stay was reduced: 5.5 days compared with 7.2 days (P = 0.258).


This intervention produced a significant reduction in 30-day readmissions for high-risk patients and a trend for shorter lengths of stay compared with similarly matched patients. Future research trials are needed to verify these results.

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