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Evaluation of an intervention targeted with predictive analytics to prevent readmissions in an integrated health system: observational study

To determine the associations between a care coordination intervention (the Transitions Program) targeted to patients after hospital discharge and 30 day readmission and mortality in a large, integrated healthcare system. Observational study. 21 hospitals operated by Kaiser Permanente Northern California. 1 539 285 eligible index hospital admissions corresponding to 739 040 unique patients from June 2010 to December 2018. 411 507 patients were discharged post-implementation of the Transitions Program; 80 424 (19.5%) of these patients were at medium or high predicted risk and were assigned to receive the intervention after discharge. Patients admitted to hospital were automatically assigned to be followed by the Transitions Program in the 30 days post-discharge if their predicted risk of 30 day readmission or mortality was greater than 25% on the basis of electronic health record data. Non-elective hospital readmissions and all cause mortality in the 30 days after hospital discharge. Difference-in-differences estimates indicated that the intervention was associated with significantly reduced odds of 30 day non-elective readmission (adjusted odds ratio 0.91, 95% confidence interval 0.89 to 0.93; absolute risk reduction 95% confidence interval -2.5%, -3.1% to -2.0%) but not with the odds of 30 day post-discharge mortality (1.00, 0.95 to 1.04). Based on the regression discontinuity estimate, the association with readmission was of similar magnitude (absolute risk reduction -2.7%, -3.2% to -2.2%) among patients at medium risk near the risk threshold used for enrollment. However, the regression discontinuity estimate of the association with post-discharge mortality (-0.7% -1.4% to -0.0%) was significant and suggested benefit in this subgroup of patients. In an integrated health system, the implementation of a comprehensive readmissions prevention intervention was associated with a reduction in 30 day readmission rates. Moreover, there was no association with 30 day post-discharge mortality, except among medium risk patients, where some evidence for benefit was found. Altogether, the study provides evidence to suggest the effectiveness of readmission prevention interventions in community settings, but further research might be required to confirm the findings beyond this setting.

Authors: Marafino, Ben J; Escobar, Gabriel J; Baiocchi, Michael T; Liu, Vincent X; Plimier, Colleen C; Schuler, Alejandro

BMJ. 2021 08 11;374:n1747. Epub 2021-08-11.

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