TUESDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- The Rothman Index (RI), a composite measure of regularly updated assessments in electronic medical records, can be used to identify patients at highest risk of hospital readmission, according to a study published in the September issue of Medical Care.

Elizabeth H. Bradley, Ph.D., from Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues developed four categories of RI and tested its association with readmission within 30 days using data from adult medical and surgical patients at a teaching hospital in 2011.

The researchers found that an unplanned readmission within 30 days of discharge occurred in 16 percent of the sample patients (2,730). Patients in the highest risk category (RI < 70) had a greater than 20 percent risk of readmission, while the risk of readmission for patients in the lowest risk category was about 10 percent. Compared with patients in the lowest risk category, patients in the highest risk category (RI < 70) or medium risk category (RI, 70 to 79) had 2.65- and 2.40-times higher odds of unplanned readmission, respectively.

"Clinicians can use the RI to help target hospital programs and supports to patients at highest risk of readmission," the authors write.

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