Hospitals continue to fail to prevent many avoidable readmissions, a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine has concluded.

Among the causes? Patients who shouldn’t have been admitted through the ER in the first place, post-discharge instructions written at too high a level for patients, failure of patients to keep follow-up appointments, and hospitals discharging patients too soon.

jama internal medicineNAUH has long pointed to two of those causes – hard-to-understand discharge instructions and difficulty keeping follow-up appointments – as problems that are especially prevalent among the patients urban safety-net hospitals serve.

In all, the study of 12 academic medical centers concluded that 15 percent of readmissions were preventable, 12 percent were likely unpreventable, and there was about a 50 percent chance of preventing another 15 percent of readmissions.

For a look at the problems the study identified and its recommendations for addressing them, go here to see the JAMA Internal Medicine article “Preventability and Causes of Readmissions in a National Cohort of General Medicine Patients.”