Two research studies released in early October on efforts to reduce hospital readmissions reached the same conclusion: crafting collaborative relationships with community-based caregivers to boost patient care is key in order to reduce hospital readmissions.
Medicare payments for hospital readmissions cost the federal government about $26 billion annually, with more than half that expenditure linked to avoidable hospitalizations, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report published last year.
Authors of the studies stated that the task moving forward is crafting specialized keys to unlock the unique combination of readmission difficulties that plague communities across the country . There will be no quick fix, but boosting collaboration between hospitals and community-based caregivers is the key to solving the problem.
“The hospitals that don’t have trusting relationships with local providers are going to face a more complicated challenge,” says L. Elizabeth Goldman, MD, lead author of a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “They need to take a different model of outpatient care. There needs to be a structure—a primary care structure and financial structure—that works.”
Ariel Linden, DPH, who published a study on readmissions in early October in the American Journal of Managed Care, says healthcare providers and the communities they serve will have to walk a fine line. “You need to create collaborative relationships to boost patient care.”