When perception is reality: Readmission rates higher among CVD patients who think they’ll be back

In healthcare, sometimes perception truly is reality.

For example, new research out of Duke University suggests that cardiovascular disease (CVD) patients who think they have a high risk of readmission are more likely to be readmitted within 30 days than those who think they have a low risk of readmission.

These findings, published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, are based on data from more than 700 patients who received treatment for CVD from January 2015 to August 2017. Each patient filled out a standardized survey before they went home, documenting their perceived risk of readmission.

Overall, the study’s authors found, the readmission rate among patients who thought they had a high risk of readmission within 30 days was 22.8%. The readmission rate among patients who thought they had a low risk of readmission, meanwhile, was 15.8%.

Among patients who thought their readmission risk was high, individuals were more likely to be readmitted when they rated their own health as poor, had difficulty accessing care or had other hospitalizations in the previous year. Among patients who thought their readmission risk was low, on the other hand, individuals were more likely to still be readmitted when they were a widow or had difficulty accessing care.

“These findings provide strong evidence for the clinical utility of assessing patients’ perceived risk of readmission before discharge to better identify those who may be readmitted within 30 days,” wrote Hanzhang Xu, PhD, RN, of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues. “Our study also identifies important nonclinical factors that are associated with 30-day readmission in patients with different perceptions of their risk. These findings have important implications for targeting patients with CVD at high risk of 30-day readmission and for developing interventions that are responsive to patient-reported needs and perceptions.”

The full study can be read here.