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Authors Saunders RS, Fernandes-Taylor S, Rathouz PJ, Saha S, Wiseman JT, Havlena J, Matsumura J, Kent KC
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Journal Surgery Volume: 156 Issue: 4 Pages: 949-56
Publish Date 2014 Oct
PubMed ID 25239351
PMC ID 4171683

The association between early outpatient follow-up and 30-day readmission has not been evaluated in any surgical population. Our study characterizes the relationship between outpatient follow-up and early readmissions among surgical patients.We queried the medical record at a large, tertiary care institution (July 2008-December 2012) to determine rates of 30-day outpatient follow-up and readmission for general or vascular operative procedures.The majority of discharges for general (84% of 7,552) and vascular (75% of 2,362) surgery had a follow-up visit before readmission or within 30 days of discharge. General surgery patients who were not readmitted had high rates of follow-up (88%) and received follow-up at approximately 2 weeks postdischarge (median, 11 days after discharge). In contrast, readmitted general surgery patients received first follow-up at 1 week (median, 8 days); 49% had follow-up. Vascular surgery patients showed a similar trend. More than one half of patients readmitted after follow-up were readmitted within 24 hours of their most recent outpatient visit.Current routine follow-up does not occur early enough to detect adverse events and prevent readmission. Early outpatient care may prevent readmission in some patients, but often serves as a conduit for readmission among patients already experiencing complications.

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