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Abstract

Hospital readmission rates can be used as an indicator of the quality of health care services and can highlight high-priority research areas to ensure better health. A readmission is defined as when a patient is discharged from an acute care hospital and is admitted back to an acute care hospital in a set amount of days, with 30 days being the current national standard. On average, 19.6% of Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge and 56.1% within a year (Jencks, Williams, & Coleman, 2009). The hypothesis of this study was that the discharge location, or where a patient went immediately after discharge, would not have a significant effect on readmissions. A data set with all admission records was obtained from a major health provider. These data contain all hospital patients’ demographic and diagnosis information. General, women’s, and children’s hospitals were looked at from a system perspective to study the discharge location of patients as well as the effects of patient demographics on discharge location. By using a z-significance test in Microsoft Excel and SAS 9.2, it was discovered that patients discharged to home have a significantly lower likelihood of readmission. Generally, patients who are discharged to an extended care or intermediate care facility or patients with home health carerelated services had a significantly higher likelihood of being readmitted. The findings may indicate a possible need for an institution-to-institution intervention as well as institution-to-patient intervention. Future work will develop potential interventions in partnership with hospital staff.

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