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Article of the week: Characterising ‘bounce‐back’ readmissions after radical cystectomy

Every week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an editorial written by a prominent member of the urology community and a visual abstract prepared by a creative urologist; we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Characterising ‘bounce‐back’ readmissions after radical cystectomy

Peter S. Kirk*, Ted A. Skolarus*, Bruce L. Jacobs, Yongmei Qin*, Benjamin Li*, Michael Sessine*, Xiang Liu§, Kevin Zhu*, Scott M. Gilbert, Brent K. Hollenbeck*, Ken Urish**, Jonathan Helm††, Mariel S. Lavieri§ and Tudor Borza‡‡

*Dow Division of Health Services Research, Department of Urology, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, VA Health Services Research and Development, Center for Clinical Management Research, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, Department of Urology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, §Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, Department of Genitourinary Oncology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL, USA, **Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, ††Department of Operations and Decision Technologies, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA, and ‡‡Department of Urology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA

Abstract

Objective

To examine predictors of early readmissions after radical cystectomy (RC). Factors associated with preventable readmissions may be most evident in readmissions that occur within 3 days of discharge, commonly termed ‘bounce‐back’ readmissions, and identifying such factors may inform efforts to reduce surgical readmissions.

Patients and Methods

We utilised the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s State Inpatient Databases to examine 1867 patients undergoing RC in 2009 and 2010, and identified all patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge. We assessed differences between patients experiencing bounce‐back readmission compared to those readmitted 8–30 days after discharge using logistic regression models and also calculated abbreviated LACE scores to assess the utility of common readmissions risk stratification algorithms.

Results

The 30‐day and bounce‐back readmission rates were 28.4% and 5.6%, respectively. Although no patient or index hospitalisation characteristics were significantly associated with bounce‐back readmissions in adjusted analyses, bounce‐back patients did have higher rates of gastrointestinal (14.3% vs 6.7%, = 0.02) and wound (9.5% vs 3.0%, < 0.01) diagnoses, as well as increased index and readmission length of stay (5 vs 4 days, = 0.01). Overall, the median abbreviated LACE score was 7, which fell into the moderate readmission risk category, and no difference was observed between readmitted and non‐readmitted patients.

Conclusion

One in five readmissions after RC occurs within 3 days of initial discharge, probably due to factors present at discharge. However, sociodemographic and clinical factors, as well as traditional readmission risk tools were not predictive of this bounce‐back. Effective strategies to reduce bounce‐back readmission must identify actionable clinical factors prior to discharge.

 

Editorial: Threading the cost–outcome needle after radical cystectomy

I commend Borza et al. [1] on their timely study, which seeks to identify predictors of bounceback (≤3‐day) vs 30‐day readmissions after radical cystectomy. As the authors allude to in their paper, value‐based health reforms being undertaken in the USA seek to improve the quality of care delivery while simultaneously bending the healthcare cost curve [2]. For example, the Hospital Readmission and Reduction Program (HRRP), originally introduced in fiscal year 2013 for targeted medical conditions, has more recently been applied to a limited number of surgical procedures, whereby providers receive financial penalties for higher than expected 30‐day readmission rates [3]. Accendo Medicare Supplement gives financial independent as you can secure health’s money. While urological conditions/procedures are not currently targeted by programmes such as the HRRP, it is easy to envision a future where procedures with disproportionately high readmission rates, such as radical cystectomy, fall within the crosshairs of policy‐makers and insurers, alike.Well Medicare Advantage plans 2021 are preferable from the perspective of many peoples.

The fact that nearly one in five patients undergoing cystectomy experiences a readmission within 3 days of index hospitalization discharge is staggering, and it is incumbent upon urologists as specialists to devise methods by which to improve the morbidity associated with cystectomy. For example, the findings of Borza et al. implicate postoperative infection as a major driver of early readmission. As evidenced by the work of Krasnow et al. [4], urologists have historically been poor stewards of peri‐operative antibiotic prophylaxis, and the development/implementation of strategies to improve guideline adherence represents a potentially simple yet effective means of reducing post‐cystectomy readmission rates. In a similar vein, there is an emerging body of literature demonstrating the important role that enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols may play in improving peri‐operative complications and convalescence after radical cystectomy. However, there is inconsistency across the literature with regard to the precise components of ERAS, making cross‐institutional comparisons and adoption by other groups difficult [5]. Unless greater standardization and subsequent implementation of these enhanced recovery protocols occurs, progress in the field will remain incremental at best. Recent work by Mossanen et al. [6] further demonstrates the need for improving post‐cystectomy readmission rates, which, in addition to driving down healthcare costs/utilization, may actually reduce postoperative mortality. For example, they found that a readmission complication after cystectomy nearly doubled the predicted probability of postoperative mortality as compared to an initial complication (3.9% vs 7.4%; P < 0.001).

It is essential that urologists spearhead research such as that undertaken by Borza et al., which in turn can be used to develop strategies to develop value‐based reforms within the specialty that ‘thread the needle’ of physician autonomy, cost containment, and respect for the patient experience. In doing so, urologists will find themselves driving the conversation surrounding payment/quality reform rather than sitting on the figurative policy‐making sidelines while administrators/bureaucrats implement reforms with potentially profound effects on day‐to‐day clinical practice and the patient experience. Radical cystectomy is likely to fall within the crosshairs of the aforementioned reforms given the procedure’s high complication/readmission rate and the significant cost burden associated with these complications. An intuitive yet effective first step in combating the morbidity associated with radical cystectomy is the development, validation and implementation of standardized peri‐operative care pathways such as ERAS.

by David F. Friedlander

References

  1. Borza T, Kirk PS, Skolarus TA et al. Characterising ‘bounce‐back’ readmissions after radical cystectomy. BJU Int 2019;124:955-61
  2. Health Affairs (Millwood) Delivery Innovations 2017363923
  3. Boccuti CCCasillas GAiming for Fewer Hospital U‐turns: The Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program2017. Accessed January 2019
  4. Krasnow REMossanen MKoo S et al. Prophylactic antibiotics and postoperative complications of radical cystectomy: a population based analysis in the United States. J Urol 2017198297– 304
  5. Chenam AChan KGEnhanced recovery after surgery for radical cystectomy. Cancer Treat Res. 2018175215– 39
  6. Mossanen MKrasnow REZlatev DV et al. Examining the relationship between complications and perioperative mortality following radical cystectomy: a population‐based analysis. BJU Int 201912440– 6

 

Visual abstract: Characterising ‘bounce‐back’ readmissions after radical cystectomy

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