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 Hospitals

RED (Re-Engineered Discharge)—An evidence-based intervention from AHRQ grantee Brian Jack, M.D., Boston University Medical Center (BUMC), 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 Educator to coordinate discharge with the care team and patient, and improving information flow with community primary care providers.

  • RED Toolkit
    AHRQ contracted with BUMC to develop this toolkit to assist hospitals, particularly those that serve diverse populations, to replicate the RED.
  • Project RED Site at Boston University
    Provides an overview of and links to Project RED's products for Preventing 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.

Project BOOST—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.

CUSP Toolkit—Patient and Family Engagement Module—This module of the CUSP Toolkit focuses on making sure patients and their family members understand what is happening during the patient's hospital stay, are active participants in the patient's care, and are prepared for discharge.

Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety—Providers can use this guide to give patients the information they need to help them care for themselves when they leave the hospital.

Multi-Center Medication Reconciliation Quality Improvement Study (MARQUIS) Toolkit—MARQUIS developed better ways for medications to be prescribed, documented, and reconciled accurately and safely at times of care transitions when patients enter and leave the hospital.

Quality Improvement Clinical Tools Web Site—Provides links to discharge planning documents.

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Information and Tools for Consumers

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 Link:

Page last reviewed February 2017
Page originally created December 2012
Internet Citation: Preventing Avoidable Readmissions. Content last reviewed February 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patient-safety-resources/resources/impptdis/index.html