Readmission rates high and frequent among sickle cell patients

Sept. 11, 2019
Limited knowledge of treatment guidelines persists among healthcare professionals

A new analysis from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) estimates that one-third of 95,600 hospital stays specifically for sickle cell disease had a readmission within 30 days and cost a total of over $811.4 million in 2016.

Hospital stays for sickle cell are 2.5 times as likely to result in a readmission as hospitalizations unrelated to the disease, according to the statistical brief from AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.

Limited knowledge of SCD treatment guidelines among healthcare professionals continues to pose a barrier to effective patient-provider relationships, and this barrier contributes to lower quality of life for those with SCD.

Hospital stays related to sickle cell disease were 1.5 times as likely to be admitted from an emergency department and nearly four times more likely to be discharged against medical advice as unrelated stays. Half were for patients 18–34 years old, and nearly 90 percent were black patients.

The new analysis, released to coincide with Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month, supports the ongoing efforts of HHS’ Sickle Cell Initiative, which aims to transform the lives of people living with sickle cell disease by moving the most promising therapies safely into clinical trials within five to 10 years.

Access resources provided as part of the initiative and learn about upcoming webinars.