USE CASE: Impact of Patient Understanding on Hospital Readmissions

A Regis University Master’s degree candidate in Health Services Administration.

Project Summary: Logic dictates that if a patient fully understands their hospital discharge instructions then they would be less likely to be readmitted. However, there is little formal data about the correlation between effective discharge information from the patient’s perspective and hospital readmission rates. A Regis University student evaluated CO APCD data alongside patient survey information from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) to see if such a relationship exists.

Hospital-specific 2009-2013 CO APCD data from across all lines of business (Commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare) was analyzed compared to responses to two specific HCAHPS care transitions survey questions for Colorado hospitals:

  • Whether they were given information about what to do during their recovery at home.
  • Where they ranked themselves when asked if they understood their care when they left the hospital.

Benefit to Colorado: The results of the study showed that across all diagnoses, higher rankings on the HCAHPS care transitions composites were associated with lower 30-day all cause readmission rates. Hospitals can use this information to build the case to enhance their own targeted interventions and ensure discharge instructions are communicated effectively to support healthy transitions of care.

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