Readmission Rate: Minimizing Unplanned Returns

In a perfect world, Emory would have a no unplanned return policy for our patients. That is, we strive to avoid any unplanned readmissions to our hospitals after a previous hospital stay. An example would be a patient who is readmitted to the hospital for a wound infection related to a surgical procedure following an initial hospital stay. There are a number of situations that can lead to patient readmissions. Some are not preventable and not all readmissions are related to a previous visit.

Readmission rate (using Vizient methodology) is the proportion of patients who return to the hospital within 30 days. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, dialysis, rehabilitation, psychiatric (within 1 day) cases are excluded from the calculation as such readmissions are often planned (i.e. intentional). Hospice, Obsteric patients, Nonviable neonatal, Neonatology, and newborns are also excluded from the readmissions calculation. Otherwise, due to limitations of the data, planned readmissions are not excluded unless they fall within one of these excluded product lines.

In the case of hospital readmission rates, generally, the lower the percentage, the better. A lower score means that we were able to successfully treat patients the first time and that we have discharged patients safely and effectively. It also means that following recommended care instructions helps to keep patients from being readmitted after hospitalization, including follow-up appointments, medications, and other appropriate actions. As an academic medical center, the nature of illnesses that Emory patients have is such that our patients are more likely to have relapses necessitating readmission. This measure also includes readmissions for problems that are unrelated to the previous admission. Because of this and because relapses are not entirely preventable and because, as noted above, planned readmissions are not entirely excluded, a readmission rate of zero is not attainable. Emory’s ongoing quality improvement efforts include several programs to ensure that when our patients are discharged, they have a clear understanding of what they need to do, how to get medical help if needed and when to see their physicians in follow up.

Emory Healthcare’s 30-day readmission rate for FY16 performance period (data through April 2016) is 12.3%. Readmission rates are not “risk adjusted” meaning they are not adjusted for the complexity and severity of medical problems. Therefore, comparing one hospital’s readmission rate to another has limited value.

Source: Vizient (formerly known as UHC) Database. Vizient is an alliance of 5,200 health system and their affiliated hospitals representing independent, community-based healthcare organizations, integrated systems and academic medical centers.

Data below shows performance from August 2013 through April 2016.

Most recent available data is preliminary, and therefore subject to change.

Emory Healthcare’s 30-day readmission rate for FY16 YTD performance (July’15-April’16) is 12.9%.

EHC Readmission Rate

Emory Healthcare’s 30-day readmission rate is the combined performance of Emory University Hospital, Emory University Midtown Hospital, Emory Johns Creek Hospital and Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.

Emory University Hospital’s 30-day readmission rate for FY16 YTD performance (July’15-April’16) is 13.3%.

EUH Readmission Rate

Emory University Hospital Midtown’s 30-day readmission rate for FY16 YTD performance (July’15-April’16) is 12.0%.

EUHM Readmission Rate

Emory Johns Creek Hospital 30-day readmission rate for FY16 YTD performance (July’15-April’16) is 9.7%.

EJCH Readmission Rate

Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital 30-day readmission rate for FY16 YTD performance (July’15-April’16) is 11.8%. 

ESJH Readmission Rate