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Study Finds Better Coordination Would Reduce Hospital Readmissions

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High rates of hospital re-admissions not only inflate health-care costs but also compromise patient safety. A number of efforts have been aimed at reducing re-admissions. One such effort, the State Action on Avoidable Re-hospitalizations Initiative, is seeking to cut the rate of hospital re-admissions in Michigan, Washington, and Massachusetts up to 30 percent.

However, the results of an analysis suggest that progress on this issue may take a while.

As many as one in five patients on Medicare return to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged, according to a report in HealthNewsDigest.com. Every year, hospital re-admissions cost the American health care system as much as $18 billion. Worse, many of these re-admissions are entirely preventable with the right kind of post-discharge information, follow-up care, and other strategies.

The researchers examined the results of the first two years of the State Action on Avoidable Re-hospitalizations Initiative. They found widespread agreement that reducing preventable re-admissions depends very heavily on collaboration and communication among health care providers across care settings.

However, establishing such cooperation is challenging. Genuine collaboration is not a natural phenomenon in many health care communities. The researchers called for policies that provide economic incentives for coordinating care and cultivate productive relationships among providers.

The Seattle medical malpractice lawyers at Morrow Kidman Tinker Macey-Cushman, PLLC represent victims of medical negligence by doctors, nurses, technicians, and other medical personnel across Washington.

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