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Unplanned readmissions to BC hospitals: How can understanding patient experiences and health system expert information drive rate reduction policy?

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British Columbia’s patients experience more unplanned readmissions to hospitals than the Canadian average. These experiences are problematic for the patient and health system alike. Readmissions increase patients’ health risks and result in budgetary and efficacy costs to the health system. While progress has been made to isolate risk factors and target interventions, Canada’s rates continue to increase with BC and Saskatchewan’s rates the highest of the provinces. Through a review of the literature, interviews with health system experts including readmission researchers, and by conducting a survey targeted to patients with lived readmission experiences, this study seeks to locate and address the most fundamental and actionable drivers of the problem. Best practices for reducing readmission rates are reviewed across relevant criteria and priority practices are selected from these. Resolving preventable readmissions requires recognition of the impacts on care quality that the lack of integration within the provincial health system’s processes creates.
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