Journal of Applied Economics, 2020. 65(2): pp. 484-494.
Shadmi E, Zeltzer D, Shir T, Flaks-Manov N, Einav R, Balicer RD.
We study a large intervention intended to reduce hospital readmission rates in Israel. Since 2012, readmission risk was calculated for patients aged 65 and older, and high-risk patients were flagged to providers upon admission and after discharge. Analyzing 171,541 admissions during 2009–2016, we find that the intervention reduced 30-day readmission rates by 5.9% among patients aged 65–70 relative to patients aged 60–64, who were not targeted by the intervention and for whom no risk-scores were calculated. The largest reduction, 12.3%, was among high-risk patients, though some of it may reflect substitution of attention away from patients with unknown high-risk at the point of care. Post-discharge follow-up encounters were significantly expedited. Estimated effects declined after incentives to reduce readmission rates were discontinued. The evidence demonstrates that informing providers about patient risk in real-time coupled with incentives to reduce readmissions can improve care continuity and reduce hospital readmissions.