Thirty-day readmission rates in orthopedics: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Background: Hospital readmission rates are being used to evaluate performance. A survey of the present rates is needed before policies can be developed to decrease incidence of readmission. We address three questions: What is the present rate of 30-day readmission in orthopedics? How do factors such as orthopedic specialty, data source, patient insurance, and time of data collection affect the 30-day readmission rate? What are the causes and risk factors for 30-day readmissions? Methods/Findings: A review was first registered with Prospero (CRD42014010293, 6/17/2014) and a meta-analysis was performed to assess the current 30-day readmission rate in orthopedics. Studies published after 2006 were retrieved, and 24 studies met the inclusion criteria. The 30-day readmission rate was extrapolated from each study along with the orthopedic subspecialty, data source, patient insurance, time of collection, patient demographics, and cause of readmission. A sensitivity analysis was completed on the stratified groups. The overall 30-day readmission rate across all orthopedics was 5.4 percent (95% confidence interval: 4.8,6.0). There was no significant difference between subspecialties. Studies that retrieved data from a multicenter registry had a lower 30-day readmission rate than those reporting data from a single hospital or a large national database. Patient populations that only included Medicare patients had a higher 30-day readmission rate than populations of all insurance. The 30-day readmission rate has decreased in the past ten years. Age, length of stay, discharge to skilled nursing facility, increased BMI, ASA score greater than 3, and Medicare/Medicaid insurance showed statistically positive correlation with increased 30-day readmissions in greater than 75 percent of studies. Surgical site complications accounted for 46 percent of 30-day readmissions. Conclusions: This meta-analysis shows the present rate of 30-day readmissions in orthopedics. Demonstrable heterogeneity between studies underlines the importance of uniform collection and reporting of readmission rates for hospital evaluation and reimbursement.




Bernatz, J. T., Tueting, J. L., & Anderson, P. A. (2015). Thirty-day readmission rates in orthopedics: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE, 10(4).

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