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Hospital Readmissions Common Among Emergency Surgery Patients

Surgical-site infections are top reason for return visits

Patients who had emergency general surgery (EGS) are at high risk for readmission within 30 days of their hospitalizations because of surgical-site infections and gastrointestinal complications, according to new research published in JAMA Surgery.

Joaquim M. Havens, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and his colleagues examined factors for 30-day readmissions of EGS patients.

"Reducing readmissions is a noble cost-saving goal with benefits not only to the hospitals, but also to the patients,” the authors stated. “However, it is critical to understand the underlying factors associated with readmission to appropriately identify quality-improvement measures that address the true problem. Focused and concerted efforts should be made to incorporate readmission-reducing strategies into the care of EGS patients, particularly among those at higher risk for readmission." 

The study analyzed the records of 177,511 EGS patients and found that half of thm experienced postsurgical complications. Nearly 6 percent were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days. Surgical-site infections were the most common reason for readmissions, followed by gastrointestinal complications. 

In an accompanying commentary, Joe Hines, M.D., of the Department of Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine,t University of California––Los Angeles, said the latest findings show that health care leaders have an opportunity to improve the care and outcomes of surgery patients. Interventions that provide preoperative patient education and an early follow-up telephone call can help ensure that patients understand care instructions immediately after discharge, he said. 

Source: FierceHealthcare, November 13, 2015

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