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Effects of Accessible Health Technology and Caregiver Support Posthospitalization on 30-Day Readmission Risk: A Randomized Trial.

Piette JD, Striplin D, Fisher L, Aikens JE, Lee A, Marinec N, Mansabdar M, Chen J, Gregory LA, Kim CS. Effects of Accessible Health Technology and Caregiver Support Posthospitalization on 30-Day Readmission Risk: A Randomized Trial. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 2020 Feb 1; 46(2):109-117.

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INTRODUCTION: Patients with chronic illness often require ongoing support postdischarge. This study evaluated a simple-to-use, mobile health-based program designed to improve postdischarge follow-up via (1) tailored communication to patients using automated calls, (2) structured feedback to informal caregivers, and (3) automated alerts to clinicians about urgent problems. METHODS: A total of 283 patients with common medical diagnoses, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, pneumonia, and diabetes, were recruited from a university hospital, a community hospital, and a US Department of Veterans Affairs hospital. All patients identified an informal caregiver or "care partner" (CP) to participate in their postdischarge support. Patient-CP dyads were randomized to the intervention or usual care. Intervention patients received weekly automated assessment and behavior change calls. CPs received structured e-mail feedback. Outpatient clinicians received fax alerts about serious problems. Primary outcomes were 30-day readmission rate and the combined outcome of readmission/emergency department (ED) use. Information about postdischarge outpatient visits, rehospitalizations, and ED encounters was obtained from medical records. RESULTS: Overall, 11.4% of intervention patients and 17.9% of controls were rehospitalized within 30 days postdischarge (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.59; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.31-1.11; p? = 0.102). Compared to intervention patients with other illnesses, those with pulmonary diagnoses generated the most clinical alerts (p? = 0.004). Pulmonary patients in the intervention group showed significantly reduced 30-day risk of rehospitalization relative to controls (HR: 0.31; 95% CI: 0.11-0.87; p? = 0.026). CONCLUSION: The CP intervention did not improve 30-day readmission rates overall, although post hoc analyses suggested that it may be promising among patients with pulmonary diagnoses.

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