Homeward Bound: Nine Patient-Centered Programs Cut Readmissions

Susan Baird Kanaan

Nine innovative programs sharply reduce the need for patients to be readmitted to the hospital shortly after being discharged. This report looks at the issues around reducing readmissions and summarizes lessons learned from the case studies.

September 2009

Too many patients return to the hospital soon after discharge, resulting in unnecessary costs, poorer health outcomes, and other problems for providers and patients. However, there is evidence that relatively inexpensive strategies can sharply reduce readmissions.

This report discusses some of the issues related to hospital readmission and describes nine programs that are addressing the problem. It also looks at lessons learned by these programs that other organizations can use to develop or refine their strategies. Among the lessons learned:

  • Patients must be activated and empowered.
  • Coordination and good communication of information across settings is critical (and challenging) for everyone.
  • Initiatives must fit local conditions.
  • Incentives must be aligned with the desired outcomes.
  • Building a supportive environment is about building community.

The complete report is available under Document Downloads.