THURSDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- People who seek treatment
in an emergency department after a recent hospitalization are more
than twice as likely to be readmitted to the hospital as those who
had not been hospitalized, a new study has found.
The finding suggests that emergency departments can help reduce
the readmission rate for hospital patients, according to the
researchers, who were to present the study Friday at the Society
for Academic Emergency Medicine's annual meeting in Boston.
"Patients who return to the emergency department within seven days of hospitalization have both relatively high and increasing rates of readmission," the study's leader, Dr. Zachary F. Meisel, an emergency physician and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, said in university news release. "These findings are important because they come at a time when there is a great effort underway to reduce hospital readmission rates, and they give us clues about how emergency departments can play a role in that process."
The researchers analyzed about 2.3 million emergency department
visits that occurred in a three-year period, finding that
readmission rates for recently hospitalized patients increased from
28.6 percent to 38 percent. In contrast, admission rates for people
who had not been recently hospitalized rose just two points, to
Further study is needed to better understand why recently
discharged patients are more likely to be readmitted to the
hospital and what hospitals can do to limit repeat visits to the ER
after a patient's discharge, the researchers said.
Experts note that research presented at meetings should be
considered preliminary because it has not been subjected to the
rigorous scrutiny given to research published in medical
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers data
emergency department visits.