Intended for healthcare professionals

Editorials

Readmission rates

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f7478 (Published 16 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7478

Re: Readmission rates

Drozda feels we are "edging slowly to a deeper understanding", but Oliver goes straight to the point - readmission rates can tell us nothing about quality!

Just like referral rates and prescribing rates used as performance indicators, the flawed premise is that rates are related to quality, when manifestly they are not. An average rate can easily conceal the worst quality in practice, but remains the fetish of performance monitors!! Rates are foisted upon us because they are easily obtained. What we really need are measures of appropriate readmission, quality assessments of indicated referral, measures of the value added by prescriptions, and in this readmissions study - measures of whether they achieved better outcomes than the alternatives available at the time!

Wasn't it Einstein who said "What counts doesn't matter, whilst what matters doesn't count"!

Will we ever learn ?

Competing interests: No competing interests

15 January 2014
L Sam Lewis
GP Trainer
NHS
Surgery, Newport, Pembrokeshire SA42 0TJ