Preventing Avoidable Readmissions

Improving the Hospital Discharge Process
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers information and tools for clinicians and patients to make the hospital discharge process safer and to prevent avoidable readmissions. This page features links to AHRQ's resources for preventing avoidable readmissions or trips to the emergency room.

Patients being discharged from the hospital who have a clear understanding of their after-hospital care instructions, including how to take their medicines and when to make follow-up appointments, are 30 percent less likely to be readmitted or visit the emergency department than patients who lack this information, according to an AHRQ-funded study.

AHRQ offers the information and tools below to help reduce the number of preventable hospital readmissions.

Information and Tools for Clinicians

Project RED (Re-Engineered Discharge)—An evidence-based project from AHRQ grantee Brian Jack, M.D., Boston University Medical Center, that offers tools to improve the hospital discharge process by preparing patients for discharge from the moment they arrive in the hospital, designating a Discharge Advocate to coordinate discharge with the care team and patient, and improving information flow with community primary care providers.

  • Project RED Summary Webinar Audio, December 2011 (Transcript)
    Provides a wealth of examples of how hospitals successfully used Project RED to reduce readmission rates.
    Streaming Audio (MP3, 126MB).
  • Technical Assistance for Implementing Project RED
    Provides an overview of an AHRQ project that provides free technical assistance to help hospitals implement Project RED.
  • Project RED Toolkit
    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality contracted with BUMC to develop this toolkit to assist hospitals, particularly those that serve diverse populations, to replicate the RED.
  • Project RED Toolkit Web Site
    Provides an overview of and links to Project RED's products forPreventing Avoidable Readmissions: Improving the Hospital Discharge Process.
  • Taking Care of Myself: A Guide for When I Leave the Hospital
    Guide for hospital staff to use during hospital discharge to help patients track their medication schedules, medical appointments, and important phone numbers.

Improving Hospital Discharge Through Medication Reconciliation and Education—A "discharge bundle" consisting of medication reconciliation forms, a checklist for patient-centered hospital discharge education, and a checklist for post-discharge continuity checks. AHRQ grantee Mark Williams, M.D., Emory University, developed this discharge bundle, which is also known as Project BOOST (Better Outcomes for Older Adults through Safer Transitions). Hospitals nationwide have used Project BOOST's evidence-based method of better organizing and standardizing the sometimes chaotic patient discharge process.

Useful Links:

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Information and Tools for Consumers

Project RED (Re-Engineered Discharge)—Provides an overview of and links to products from AHRQ grantee Brian Jack, M.D., Boston University Medical Center, that offers tools to improve the hospital discharge process by preparing patients for discharge from the moment they arrive in the hospital, designating a Discharge Advocate to coordinate discharge with the care team and patient, and improving information flow with community primary care providers.

Useful Links:

Page last reviewed November 2014
Internet Citation: Preventing Avoidable Readmissions. November 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patient-safety-resources/resources/impptdis/index.html