Purpose Readmission within 30 days has been used as a metric for quality of care received at hospitals for certain diagnoses. In the era of accountability, value-based care, and increasing cancer costs, policymakers are looking into cancer readmissions as well. It is important to describe the readmission profile of patients with cancer in the most clinically relevant approach to inform policy and health care delivery that can positively impact patient outcomes. Patients and Methods We conducted a retrospective cohort study using linked Texas Cancer Registry and Medicare claims data. We included elderly Texas residents diagnosed with GI cancer and identified risk factors for unplanned readmission using generalized estimating equations, comparing medical with surgical cancer-related hospitalizations. Results We analyzed 69,693 hospitalizations from 31,736 patients. The unplanned readmission rate was higher after medical hospitalizations than after surgical hospitalizations (21.6% v 13.4%, respectively). Shared risk factors for readmission after medical and surgical hospitalizations included advanced disease stage, high comorbidity index, and emergency room visit and radiation therapy within 30 days before index hospitalization. Several other associated factors and reasons for readmission were noted to be unique to medical or surgical hospitalizations alone. Conclusion Unplanned readmissions among elderly patients with GI cancer are more common after medical hospitalizations compared with surgical hospitalizations. There are shared risk factors and unique risk factors for these hospitalizations that can inform policy, health care delivery, and interventions to reduce readmissions. Other findings underscore the importance of care coordination and comorbidity management in this patient population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy