Costs of Early Heart Failure Readmissions

Years funded:

Heart failure (HF) is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs and is a frequent cause of hospital admission. 

HF patients are at high risk of early readmission with a quarter of patients being readmitted to a hospital within the first 30-days of discharge. 

These readmissions are not only distressing for patients, but are a major source of avoidable healthcare costs because many (20-75%) readmissions are preventable with improved hospital care and discharge practices. 

Internationally, efforts to reduce early readmissions have been driven by cost analyses that have clearly shown the high costs and resources associated with these preventable readmissions. 

For example, 30-day readmissions among HF patients cost the US health system $US1.7 billion per year – a figure that has driven major clinical and policy interventions to reduce readmissions given the potential cost-savings. However, there are no data concerning the cost of readmissions or resource consumption in Australia. 

To address this problem, for the first-time in Australia, we seek to analyse nationwide cost and resource use of HF patients who were readmitted to hospital within 30 days. 

We aim to conduct this analysis using the standardised methods we have adapted from the US. In addition, we seek to estimate the proportion of healthcare costs and resources directly attributable to avoidable readmissions. 

We believe this information is crucial for health services, stakeholders and government to build a ‘business case’ to implement more effective clinical and policy interventions to reduce readmissions given that cost and resource considerations are a major driver of decision making for health services.

Researcher Profile

Dr Isuru Ranasinghe

Institute: The University of Adelaide
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