Background: Potentially preventable readmissions of surgical oncology patients offer opportunities to improve quality of care. Identifying and subsequently addressing remediable causes of readmissions may improve patient-centered care.
Objectives: To identify factors associated with potentially preventable readmissions after index cancer operation.
Methods: The New York State hospital discharge database was used to identify patients undergoing common cancer operations via principal diagnosis and procedure codes between the years 2010 and 2014. The 30-day readmissions were identified and risk factors for potentially preventable readmissions were analyzed using competing risk analysis.
Results: A total of 53,740 cancer surgeries performed for the following tumor types were analyzed: colorectal (CRC) (42%), kidney (22%), liver (2%), lung (25%), ovary (4%), pancreas (4%), and uterine (1%). The 30-day readmission rate was 11.97%, 47% of which were identified as potentially preventable. The most common cause of potentially preventable readmissions was sepsis (48%). Pancreatic cancer had the highest overall readmission rate (22%) and CRC had the highest percentage of potentially preventable readmissions (51%, hazard ratio [HR] 1.42, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.28–1.61). Risk factors associated with preventable readmissions included discharge disposition to a skilled nursing facility (HR 2.22, 95%CI 1.99–2.48) and the need for home healthcare (HR 1.61, 95%CI 1.48–1.75).
Conclusions: Almost half of the 30-day readmissions were potentially preventable and attributed to high rates of sepsis, surgical site infections, dehydration, and electrolyte disorders. These results can be further validated for identifying broad targets for improvement