In a recent study published in the journal CHEST, a team of researchers from Israel found that the risk for hospital readmission is nearly three times higher following a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation if a follow-up visit to a pulmonologist is skipped.
The high frequency of readmissions in COPD patients remains a significant clinical concern.
In the study titled “The Association Between Hospital Readmission and Pulmonologist Follow-up Visits in Patients With COPD”, Rachel Gavish, MD from the Department of Public Health in Beer-Sheva, Israel, along with colleagues conducted a retrospective study to assess the impact of a pulmonologist follow-up visit during the month after discharge from hospital because of COPD exacerbation on reducing readmissions.
Results revealed that of the 195 COPD patients that took part in the study, 44.1% had follow-up visits with their pulmonologists within 30 days of hospital discharge.
The results also showed that there was an association between not attending the follow-up visit and distance of residence, a higher number of hospitalizations in the previous 12 months, a lower frequency of follow-up visits with pulmonologists in the previous 12 months and a lack of a recommendation in the discharge letter for a follow-up visit. There was an association between non-attendance to the follow-up visit and an increased risk of rehospitalization within 90 days of discharge.
“The potential impact of this study on reducing the admission rate of patients with common respiratory diseases is high. Advising a patient to visit a chest physician after discharge may save the next admission and reduce the morbidity burden of this serious disease,” said Nimrod Maimon, MD, Department of Medicine and the Pulmonology Institute of Soroka and Ben-Gurion University Medical Center and study author in a recent news release.