Reducing readmissions is a national priority for payers, providers and policy makers seeking to improve health care and lower costs and is the latest funded collaborative research project of the Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT) at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health.
The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) funded CHOT is one of five collaborating institutions awarded $250,000 for a one-year study to research strategies for reducing preventable hospital readmissions at the Texas Medical Center (TMC). Dr. Bita Kash, CHOT director, will lead CHOT’s research efforts in partnership with researchers from Houston Methodist, MD Anderson, CHI-St. Luke’s Health System and the Baylor College of Medicine.
The long-term goals of this project, termed the TEXAS Project, are to determine which of a number of transitions of care strategies will be most effective and least costly to reduce unplanned readmissions back to participating acute care hospitals in the TMC and to assess the validity of existing models used to predict risk of readmission. The TEXAS Project is funded by the TMC Health Policy Institute.
The research team will study and categorize various readmission rate reduction initiatives published in peer-reviewed literature, identify and describe the current inventory of readmissions reduction strategies in use by TMC institutions, and identify selected interventions that are most likely to be effective.
“We are most interested in initiatives that incorporate the use of health information exchanges (HIE). I am very excited about working with the Greater Houston Health Connect HIE and the Southeast Texas Health Network, an HIE serving rural communities near Houston, as partners in this project,” Dr. Kash said. “This is a unique partnership among TMC’s leading institutions and community HIE providers, which will ultimately inform policy makers and health care providers about how to reach 30-day readmissions goals.”
The research team will evaluate the role and effectiveness of HIEs in care transitions for TMC patients, analyzing how effectively community and enterprise HIEs help facilitate transitions of care for those TMC patients who live in geographically isolated and/or rural communities.
“It is our hope that research findings will include specific models of care that will improve the health of Texans, especially those who live far from health care services providers at TMC,” Dr. Kash said.
CHOT is one of NSF’s 70 Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC) in the U.S. and the only I/UCRC focused on innovations in health care delivery. Through their cooperative research model, CHOT researcher and industry members from across all spectrums of health care work with university faculty and graduate students to conduct research on strategies for improving health and transforming the delivery of health care.