Early primary care follow-up after ED and hospital discharge – does it affect readmissions?

Authors: Sinha S, Seirup J, Carmel A


Hosp Pract (1995). 2017 Apr;45(2):51-57

OBJECTIVES: After hospitalization, timely discharge follow-up has been linked to reduced readmissions in the heart failure population, but data from general inpatients has been mixed. The objective of this study was to determine if there was an association between completed follow-up appointments within 14 days of hospital discharge and 30-day readmission amongst primary care patients at an urban academic medical center. Index discharges included both inpatient and emergency room settings. A secondary objective was to identify patient factors associated with completed follow-up appointments within 14 days.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of primary care patients at an urban academic medical center who were discharged from either the emergency department (ED) or inpatient services at the Weill Cornell Medical Center/New York Presbyterian Hospital from 1 January 2014-31 December 2014. Cox proportional hazard models were used to identify the relationship between follow-up in primary care within 14 days and readmission within 30 days. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association of patient factors with 14-day follow-up.
RESULTS: Among 9,662 inpatient and ED discharges, multivariable analysis (adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, insurance, number of diagnoses on problem list, length of stay, and discharge service) showed that follow-up with primary care within 14 days was not associated with a lower hazard of readmission within 30 days (HR = 0.78; 95% CI 0.56-1.09). A higher number of diagnoses on the problem list was associated with greater odds of follow-up for both inpatient and emergency department discharges (inpatient: HR = 1.03, 95% CI 1.02-1.04; ED: HR = 1.02, 95% CI 1.00-1.04). For inpatient discharges, each additional day in length of stay was associated with 3% lower odds of follow-up (HR = 0.97, 95% CI 0.96-0.99).
CONCLUSION: Early follow-up within 14 days after discharge from general inpatient services was associated with a trend toward lower hazard of 30-day readmission though this finding was not significant. Future studies should focus on identifying additional cohorts of patients in which readmission is reduced by early follow-up, so that access to primary care appointments is not compromised.



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