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December 2018

Three Common Methodological Issues in Studies of Surgical Readmission Rates: The Trouble With Readmissions

Author Affiliations
  • 1Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 2Center for Surgery and Public Health, Department of Surgery, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Department of Surgery, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • 4Deputy Editor, JAMA Surgery
JAMA Surg. 2018;153(12):1074-1076. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2018.2488

Reducing the rate of unplanned readmissions within 30 days of an index hospitalization (a phenomenon referred to as failed discharges1) has been proposed as an indicator of cost containment and value maximization in health care. The need to reduce unplanned readmissions is widely acknowledged; this rate is thought to be reflective of patient outcomes, health system performance, and care coordination.2 Readmission has been incorporated in multiple surgical quality improvement initiatives, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program and the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP).

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