A  A  A   Print
Readmission Rates for Children May Not Reflect Hospital Performance

Readmission Rates for Children May Not Reflect Hospital Performance

TUESDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Unlike the case with adult readmissions, higher hospital readmission rates for children may not necessarily indicate poor quality of care, according to new research.

Parents or guardians looking for a good pediatric hospital should not base their decision on its readmission rates, the study authors added.

The multistate study tracked rates of children being readmitted to the hospital or visiting the emergency room within one and two months of being discharged for common childhood conditions.

"As a national way of assessing and tracking hospital quality, pediatric readmissions and revisits, at least for specific diagnoses, are not useful to families trying to find a good hospital, nor to the hospitals trying to improve their pediatric care," study author Dr. Naomi Bardach, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, Benioff Children's Hospital, said in a UCSF news release. "Measuring and reporting them publicly would waste limited hospital and health care resources."

In conducting the study, the researchers examined nearly 1,000 hospitals that admitted children for seven common pediatric conditions: asthma, dehydration, pneumonia, appendicitis, skin infections, mood disorders and epilepsy. They determined the rates of readmissions and visits to the hospital within 30 and 60 days of being discharged for each condition.

The study revealed that 30-day readmission rates were 7.6 percent for mood disorders, 6.1 percent for epilepsy and 6 percent for dehydration. However, 30-day readmission rates for all the other conditions at all the hospitals were less than 5 percent. Given these findings, the researchers concluded that few hospitals that care for kids can be rated as being better or worse based on readmissions.

"With average 30-day readmission rates hovering around 5 percent, there is little space for a hospital to be identified as having better performance," Bardach said.

Only one of the hospitals performed better than average when it came to readmissions for asthma, while four performed worse. Two hospitals performed better than average on appendicitis readmissions and two performed worse. There were no differences among hospitals in average performance for pneumonia and dehydration. Only one hospital of more than 600 performed below average on seizure readmission rates.

"The low number of outliers is likely due to the fact that most hospitals just don't admit very many kids, because children are healthier than adults," Bardach said.

The researchers said larger studies involving children with similar diagnoses could improve the usefulness of readmission rates as a measure of hospital performance or quality of care.

The study will appear in the September issue of the journal Pediatrics.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services outlines efforts to reduce hospital readmissions.

SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, news release, Aug. 26, 2013

Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.