A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday determined that unplanned readmissions in surgical patients are common in patients experiencing postoperative complications and therefore can be predicted using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program complication risk index.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regard hospital readmissions as indicators of suboptimal care and believe a reduction in readmissions will reduce healthcare costs and improve quality. Currently, hospitals do not have the means to identify surgical patients who are at high risk for unplanned rehospitalizations.
The American College of Surgeons’ Surgical Risk Calculator, an online tool, uses patient data like age, body mass index and smoking status to estimate the patient’s risk of post-surgery complications. Identifying high-risk patients may allow hospitals to reduce unplanned rehospitalizations.
Lead study author Laurent G. Glance suggested that the results provide a number of potential management practices for physicians, such as moving high-risk patients to the intensive care unit after surgery and reducing caseload for nurses monitoring high-risk patients in an effort to prevent complications that lead to costly rehospitalizations.