A new Journal of Internal Medicine study finds a strong link between patient ‘activation’ and lower hospital readmissions. The study found that patients with the lowest activation levels were nearly twice as likely to return to a hospital within 30 days compared to patients at the highest activation levels.
While the results on their own are impressive, there is the potential for a much more significant impact. Participants in the study were general medical inpatients, so it would be really interesting to compare these results to those from a study that takes the next step and focuses on patients with more complex post-discharge care needs than the general population.
Going forward it is critically important for hospitals to identify those patients who are not able to manage their health at the point of discharge and have strategies in place to help them act on their discharge instructions. Objective measurement tools, such as the one used in this study, are a great first step toward reducing costs and better outcomes.