AMA Report Offers Nine Steps to Help PCPs Prevent Readmissions



The American Medical Association recently released a report developed by a 21-member expert panel proposing a nine-step plan for primary-care-physician (PCP) practices to play an integral role in improving care transitions and preventing avoidable rehospitalizations.2 The report recommends focusing on more than just the hospital-admitting diagnosis, conducting a thorough patient health assessment, clarifying the patient’s short- and long-term goals, and coordinating care with other care settings.

With simultaneous research in JAMA concluding that the vast majority of readmissions are for reasons unrelated to the previous hospital stay, coordination between the inpatient and outpatient teams is crucial to successful transitions of care.3 Moreover, a recent survey showed that nearly 30% of PCPs say they miss alerts about patients’ test results from an electronic health record (EHR) notification system.4 According to the survey by Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH, and colleagues from the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, the doctors received on average 63 such alerts per day. Seventy percent reported that they cannot effectively manage the alerts, and more than half said that the current EHR notification system makes it possible to miss test results.

Larry Beresford is a freelance writer in Oakland, Calif.


  1. Quinn K, Neeman N, Mourad M, Sliwka D. Communication coaching: A multifaceted intervention to improve physician-patient communication [abstract]. J Hosp Med. 2012;7 Suppl 2:S108.
  2. Sokol PE, Wynia MK. There and Home Again, Safely: Five Responsibilities of Ambulatory Practices in High Quality Care Transitions. American Medical Association website. http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/patient-safety/ambulatory-practices.pdf. Accessed February 12, 2013.
  3. Dharmarajan K, Hsieh AF, Lin Z, et al. Diagnoses and timing of 30-day readmissions after hospitalization for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, or pneumonia. JAMA. 2013;309(4):355-363.
  4. JAMA Internal Medicine. Nearly one-third of physicians report missing electronic notification of test results. JAMA Internal Medicine website. Available at: http://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/nearly-one-third-of-physicians-report-missing-electronic-notification-of-test-results/.Accessed April 8, 2013.
  5. Miliard M. VA enlists telehealth for disasters. Healthcare IT News website. http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/va-enlists-telehealth-disasters. Published February 27, 2013. Accessed April 1, 2013.

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