AHRQ’s Director Looks to Hospitalists to Help Reduce Readmissions

Although a recently released study of Medicare data uncovers little progress in reducing hospital readmissions, and the Oct. 1 deadline to implement CMS’ Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program looms, Carolyn Clancy, MD, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), says she’s not worried about the ability of America’s hospitalists to rise to the occasion and get a handle on the problem.

Dr. Clancy recently wrote a commentary outlining the government’s approach to controlling readmissions, stating that taking aim at readmissions is 1) an integral component of its value-based purchasing program and 2) is an opportunity for improving hospital quality and patient safety.

"Hospitalists are often on the receiving end of hospitalizations resulting from poor coordination of care. I think it would be very exciting to be part of the solution," Dr. Clancy says. She says she observed firsthand during a recent hospital stay how hospitalists helped her to think about how she should care for herself after returning home. But her father suffered a needless rehospitalization when important information (how much Coumadin to take) was miscommunicated in a post-discharge follow-up phone call, causing him to start bleeding.

"Hospitalists who want to embrace the challenge will find a phenomenal amount of information on Innovations Exchange, where people from all over America are sharing their clinical innovations."

Dr. Clancy says she hopes AHRQ-supported tools and studies "will make it easier for hospitals to do the right thing."

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