Prompt postdischarge follow-up was associated with decreased likelihood of emergency department (ED) visits and readmissions at 30 days. These findings, from a retrospective cohort study, were published in JCO Oncology Practice.
Transitioning from inpatient to outpatient oncology care is a vulnerable time for patients and is associated with increased rates of mortality and adverse events. To date, the effect of postdischarge medical follow-up during this time period remains poorly understood.
To evaluate its role, patient records collected between 2018 and 2020 at the Yale New Haven Hospital were retrospectively evaluated. Trends in ED visits and readmissions were assessed on the basis of postdischarge follow-up.
Patients (N=25,135), mean age 66.4±14.4 years, had been hospitalized for 5.7±6.7 days; 80% were hospitalized for nononcology care and 51% were discharged without home services.
More than half (58%) of patients had a follow-up appointment within 30 days of discharge. Patients with a 30-day follow-up had lower rates of ED visits (25% vs 33%; P <.001) and readmissions (21% vs 28%; P <.001) at 30 days.
Among patients with a follow-up, 23.8% had a follow-up within the first 14 days. Patients with a 14-day follow-up had lower rates of ED visits (18% vs 27%; P <.001) and readmissions (8% vs 25%; P <.001) at 30 days.
Similar trends were observed in disease subgroups.
This study may have been limited by not evaluating the reason for patient follow-up.
“Safe transitions from hospital to outpatient are essential to prevent gaps in care. Medical oncology admissions with timely postdischarge medical oncology appointment were associated with significantly lower likelihood of experiencing all-cause readmission and ED visits within 30 days,” the researchers concluded.
Disclosure: Some authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.
Xiang J, Chow R, Reynoso A, et al. Association between postdischarge medical oncology follow-up appointments and downstream health care use: a single-institution experience. JCO Oncol Pract. Published online June 13, 2022. doi:10.1200/OP.21.00868