Office of Research & Development

VA RESEARCH QUARTERLY UPDATE
This Issue: Ensuring High-Quality Care | Table of Contents: Fall 2016 | Download this issue

In the News

VA in project to reduce hospital readmissions


VA researchers are involved in a project aimed at reducing hospital readmissions, in both VA and the private sector.
VA researchers are involved in a project aimed at reducing hospital readmissions, in both VA and the private sector. (Photo: ©iStock/sshepard)

VA researchers are involved in a project aimed at reducing hospital readmissions, in both VA and the private sector. (Photo: ©iStock/sshepard)

A universal toolkit that can be used with any electronic health record (EHR) system may be able to predict the risk of hospital readmission in real time, according to an Aug. 26, 2016, article in HealthITAnalytics.

The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice is developing the toolkit. It leverages EHR patient safety monitoring data and predictive analytics to help prevent unnecessary future hospital stays for patients. Initially, the toolkit will focus on patients who have been hospitalized after heart attacks.

The toolkit extracts complex information about patient health and health care factors from EHRs, including social risk factors such as living status and social support at home, and uses natural language processing to help identify risk and health status from clinicians' narrative notes.

The goal is to help hospitals, including in VA, direct the appropriate extra resources to patients who face the highest risk of readmission, as indicated by the toolkit.

The toolkit is being developed to work with a number of different EHR systems. The final evaluation of the product will be conducted in VA. This effort will be led by Dr. Michael Matheny of the Tennessee Valley VA Health Care System in Nashville. He is part of the team developing the toolkit.

The article quoted Dr. Jeremiah Brown of the Dartmouth Institute as saying that "this is one of the first projects to develop and validate an informatics toolkit in multiple health systems. Overall, this project is designed to provide healthcare professionals with tools to maximize patient safety and health, especially after patients leave the hospital."


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