Certain surgeries may lead to high readmission rates, but these procedures likely benefit patients in the long-term.

Emma Barber, MD

Research from Dr. Emma Barber, a fellow in gynecologic oncology at UNC OB-GYN, on hospital readmission as a inaccurate measure of ovarian cancer outcomes was featured at the Society for Gynecologic Oncology’s annual meeting March 12.

As mandated by Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, reducing hospital readmission rates has been a priority of hospital systems nationwide. Reducing admission for those with chronic illnesses reduces costs, improves quality of care and lowers risk of complications. However, new research shows that this is not an ideal way to measure ovarian cancer outcomes, focusing on short-term quality of life but not the long-term survival rates of ovarian cancer patients.

Hospitals are likely to incentivize patterns of care, such as neoadjuvant chemotherapy, that decrease readmission rates, yet these care patterns do not always lead to a better survival rate for ovarian cancer patients. While certain surgeries may lead to high readmission rates for ovarian cancer patients, these procedures likely benefit patients in the long-term.

“These overarching policies are going to incentivize gynecologic oncologists to do more chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy),” said Dr. Barber, “This is an example where a well-meaning policy for the broad population has unintended consequences for the smaller ovarian cancer community.”

The society issued the following release on the results, which can be found here: “Hospital readmission metrics are not an ideal measure in ovarian cancer cases
Surgeons should focus on long-term outcomes.”

The release also highlights the work of Shitanshu Uppal, MBBS, of the University of Michigan.