The analysis, from investigators at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., used information from the State Inpatient Database, which is available through the U.S. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. In that database, patients are given a unique identifier, allowing them to be tracked over time, which overcomes a limitation of other literature—losing track of patients if they are readmitted at a center other than the original location of the surgery.
Researchers looked at the readmissions of California residents from 2008 to 2010. The data set included 58,748 discharges, approximately 500 of which were excluded because the original length of stay was more than 90 days or the surgery was done at a center with fewer than 10 otolaryngology admissions. The overall readmission rate was 8.1%, said Evan Graboyes, MD, a resident at the Washington University, who presented the findings.
Although univariate analysis showed that readmission rates were somewhat higher in teaching hospitals than non-teaching hospitals and in hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of low-income patients, those associations disappeared upon multivariate analysis, he said. “Variation in readmission rates between hospitals is driven by patient factors, not hospital factors,” Dr. Graboyes said.