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Potentially avoidable readmissions

In some cases, patients need to be readmitted to hospital after discharge. For instance, a patient may stop taking their medication at home and this causes their health to deteriorate. In this event, the quality department at Hôpital de La Tour identifies and reviews each readmission to determine the corrective action, for example, should home care services have been arranged? This enables Hôpital de La Tour to improve the patient’s care pathway after discharge in order to deliver the highest standards of care.

Introduction

The rate of readmissions is widely regarded in scientific literature as a valid quality indicator for hospitals. As a result, the rate of potentially avoidable readmissions has been one of the national quality indicators reviewed in the hospital care sector since 2011 by the National Association for the Development of Quality in Swiss Hospitals and Clinics (ANQ). 

A “potentially avoidable readmission” is when a patient is readmitted within 30 days after being discharged from hospital. It can be characterized as “avoidable” according to an algorithm that takes into account the patient’s characteristics, including age, gender, and comorbidities.  

Hôpital de La Tour monitors the rate of readmissions that have taken place at the facility (internal rate) every three months. In contrast, the ANQ report publishes the overall rate of readmissions which includes, in addition to the internal rate, the readmissions of patients who were originally hospitalized at Hôpital de La Tour but later readmitted to another hospital in Switzerland.

Alongside its report, ANQ also publishes an expected rate which is used as a benchmark and takes into account the characteristics of hospitalized patients over the course of the year for each hospital. 

3.3%

Internal rate of potentially avoidable readmissions in 2020 at Hôpital de La Tour

3.8%

Expected rate according to the latest ANQ figures

Overall rate
Internal rate
Expected rate
readmission

ANQ publishes the rate of external readmissions to other hospitals twice a year, as a result, this rate cannot be assessed for 2019 and 2020.

Improvement measures taken

Hôpital de La Tour continues to review readmissions every three months, focusing on patients readmitted within seven days after discharge. It aims to establish if there are characteristics that make it possible to identify patients “at risk of readmission” at an early stage in order to provide tailored support measures.