Understanding variation in 30-day surgical readmission in the era of accountable care: Effect of the patient, surgeon, and surgical subspecialties

Faiz Gani, Donald J. Lucas, Yuhree Kim, Eric B. Schneider, Timothy M. Pawlik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE Readmission is a target area of quality improvement in surgery. While variation in readmission is common, to our knowledge, no study has specifically examined the underlying etiology of this variation among a variety of surgical procedures performed in a large academic medical center. OBJECTIVE To quantify the variability in 30-day readmission attributable to patient, surgeon, and surgical subspecialty levels in patients undergoing a major surgical procedure. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Retrospective analysis of administrative claims data of patients discharged following a major surgical procedure at a tertiary care center between January 1, 2009, and, December 31, 2013. A total of 22 559 patients were included in this study and underwent a major surgical procedure performed by 56 surgeons practicing in 8 surgical subspecialties. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES In-hospital morbidity, 30-day readmission, and proportional variation in 30-day readmission at patient, surgeon, and surgical subspecialty levels. RESULTS Among the 22 559 patients in this study, patient age, race/ethnicity, and payer type differed across surgical subspecialties. Preoperative comorbidity was common and noted in 65.1%of patients. Postoperative complications were noted in 21.6% of patients varying from 2.1% following breast, melanoma or endocrine surgery to 37.0% following cardiac surgery. The overall 30-day readmission was 13.2% (n = 2975). Readmission varied considerably across the 8 different surgical subspecialties, ranging from 24.8% following transplant surgery (n = 557) to 2.1% following breast, melanoma, or endocrine surgery (n = 32). After adjusting for patient- and surgeon-level variables, factors associated with readmission included African American race/ethnicity (odds ratio, 1.23; 95%CI, 1.11-1.36; P

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1042-1049
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA Surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding variation in 30-day surgical readmission in the era of accountable care: Effect of the patient, surgeon, and surgical subspecialties'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this