Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2020 Aug 29. doi: 10.1002/acr.24435. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has one of the highest 30-day hospital readmission rates among chronic diseases in the United States. This quality improvement initiative developed and assessed the feasibility of a multidisciplinary post-discharge intervention to reduce 30-day readmission rates among SLE patients.
METHODS: A retrospective study was performed using electronic health records of patients with SLE admitted to a university hospital prior to (non-intervention group) and after initiation of the study intervention (intervention group). The study population included patients with a diagnosis of SLE who were admitted to the hospital for any reason during an eight month time period. The intervention involved sending a templated message at the time of discharge to the rheumatology clinic nurses which prompted the nurses to call the patient to coordinate future visits and provide education. The primary outcome was the 30-day hospital readmission rate. Data was analyzed using a multivariate mixed binomial regression model.
RESULTS: There were 59 hospitalizations in the non-intervention group and 73 hospitalizations in the intervention group during the eight-month study period. The 30-day readmission rate was 29% in the non-intervention group and 19% in the intervention group. The difference in readmission rates between the two groups was not statistically significant based on the multivariate model.
CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrates the feasibility of implementing a multi-disciplinary post-discharge intervention to reduce readmission rates for patients with SLE in a large academic medical center. Further investigation is warranted to determine if this approach reduces the unacceptably high hospital readmission rates among SLE patients.