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January 23/30, 2013

Thirty-Day Readmissions: The Clock Is Ticking

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston (Dr Vaduganathan); and Center for Cardiovascular Innovation, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois (Drs Bonow and Gheorghiade).

JAMA. 2013;309(4):345-346. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.205110

What makes 30 days so special? Across disciplines of medicine, this time frame is used to help define response to initial therapies. Oncologists often require 4 weeks of complete response to initial chemotherapy before declaring patients with acute myeloid leukemia to be in remission. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons uses 30-day mortality as a major indicator of cardiac surgical success. In heart failure, 30-day readmission has emerged as a benchmark for reimbursement and an indicator of hospital quality.