Health leaders join RWJF to tackle hospital readmissions

NBC Chief Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman, MD, joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on February 13 in Washington, D.C. to spotlight healthcare innovators working to improve patient care and reduce unnecessary readmissions.

This is the second phase of RWJF’s Care About Your Care effort, which was launched in 2011 to call attention to the spotty quality of the U.S. health care system and what providers and patients alike can do to improve care.

This year’s efforts are endorsed by more than two dozen leading public and private health care organizations, ranging from CMS to organizations representing physicians, nurses, hospitals, caregivers and chronic disease patients.

HIMSS is a partner with RWJF in this initiative. As a cause-based, not-for-profit organization, HIMSS and its members strive to engage and empower consumers to take an active role in their healthcare by equipping frontline clinicians and healthcare professionals with IT tools and knowledge. Among other things, HIMSS produces an online guide designed to help consumers better understand and use social media to manage their healthcare needs: Healthcare “Friending” Social Media: What is it, How is it used, and What should I do?

Hospital readmissions are a serious problem in the United States.

Almost one in five elderly patients released from a hospital is back within 30 days; more than a third are back within 90 days. Many of these return visits could be avoided, and CMS began penalizing hospitals last year for excessive readmissions.

“American hospitals suffer from a chronic malady—the revolving door syndrome,” said RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD. “Care About Your Care is our effort to put this issue on everyone’s radar. The reasons people end up back in hospitals vary widely, but we need to face this problem together as an entire health care community, not in silos.”