Importance: Because effective interventions to reduce hospital readmissions are often expensive to implement, a score to predict potentially avoidable readmissions may help target the patients most likely to benefit.
Objective: To derive and internally validate a prediction model for potentially avoidable 30-day hospital readmissions in medical patients using administrative and clinical data readily available prior to discharge.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: Academic medical center in Boston, Massachusetts.
Participants: All patient discharges from any medical services between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010.
Main outcome measures: Potentially avoidable 30-day readmissions to 3 hospitals of the Partners HealthCare network were identified using a validated computerized algorithm based on administrative data (SQLape). A simple score was developed using multivariable logistic regression, with two-thirds of the sample randomly selected as the derivation cohort and one-third as the validation cohort.
Results: Among 10 731 eligible discharges, 2398 discharges (22.3%) were followed by a 30-day readmission, of which 879 (8.5% of all discharges) were identified as potentially avoidable. The prediction score identified 7 independent factors, referred to as the HOSPITAL score: h emoglobin at discharge, discharge from an o ncology service, s odium level at discharge, p rocedure during the index admission, i ndex t ype of admission, number of a dmissions during the last 12 months, and l ength of stay. In the validation set, 26.7% of the patients were classified as high risk, with an estimated potentially avoidable readmission risk of 18.0% (observed, 18.2%). The HOSPITAL score had fair discriminatory power (C statistic, 0.71) and had good calibration.
Conclusions and relevance: This simple prediction model identifies before discharge the risk of potentially avoidable 30-day readmission in medical patients. This score has potential to easily identify patients who may need more intensive transitional care interventions.