Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering

Research Projects

Readmissions Study of Critical Access Hospitals

The Challenge

Doctor talking with patient in hospital bed

Critical access hospitals (CAHs) operate under conditions dissimilar to short-term general acute hospitals subject to prospective payment reimbursement (PPS hospitals). They have a 96 hour limit on average patient length of stay, access to fewer local healthcare resources, and often provide a more limited scope of care than larger PPS hospitals. These conditions may lead to CAHs patients experiencing more frequent transitions in care, such as hospital readmissions. Transitions in care are associated with increased costs of care and poorer patient outcomes.

Most hospital readmission studies have not included CAHs and thus there is uncertainty about the ability to apply these research results to CAHs since they are based upon hospital care that has some dissimilarity to CAH’s operating environment.

RCHE's Approach

RCHE is applying expertise in statistics and industrial engineering to examine primary data from several critical access hospital partners. The combination of these disciplines allows the center to apply and, if necessary, to develop models to most accurately illustrate the situation.


Potential Impact

This project will identify common patient transitions in care that may suggest inappropriate resource use, such as low primary care network usage among rural patients. The results may help rural Critical Access Hospitals to better coordinate care during patients’ transitions back into the community so as to reduce readmissions and non-urgent ED visits.


Posters, Presentations, and Publications

Poster presented March 2014

About RCHE

Applying academic research to transform healthcare delivery.