There is the tendency of increasing readmission rates in hospitals. Due to it, hospitals’ costs are increasing too. According to Verhaegh et al. (2014) the reason has something to do with the fact that there are “a poor communication between inpatient and outpatient clinicians, medication changes during hospitalizations” (p. 435), the absence of proper follow-up arrangements, and some other factors that influence the treatment of patients in hospitals. To deal with this problem, the Centres for Medicare & Medicaid Services limit financing of hospitals with extremely high readmission rates nowadays. Thus, it is to be hoped that hospitals’ management will establish effective policies for supporting a safe transition of care.
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The aim of this research is to assess the effectiveness of existing transitional care interventions in order to determine the most effective strategies for reducing readmission rates. In accordance with the aim, there are two research questions that have to be investigated in this research:
- Is there a connection between transitional care interventions and a reduction of hospital readmissions among Medicare patients?
- What are the most effective transitional care measures in terms of their intensity?
To answer these two questions, some qualitative research methods have to be used. According to Creswell (2014), qualitative research methods are used when it is necessary to get some information about the thoughts, behaviors, and social contexts of the particular groups of people. There are three common qualitative research methods: participation observation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. Participant observation is the best qualitative research method to be used in the research because it provides the detailed description of necessary cases and problems. This method will enable to understand the relationship between transitional care interventions and a reduction of hospital readmissions. Also, it will reveal the most effective transitional care measures. However, there are some disadvantages of participant observation method. For example, this method is time-consuming and limited in resources. Moreover, it is quite subjective.
Apart from this, some quantitative research methods are to be used to enhance the study. Firstly, it is important to emphasize that this research refers to numbers. Thus, it cannot be done without quantitative methods. It goes without saying that the quantitative and qualitative data would complement one another and add strength to the research. Such data collection methods are to be used as questionnaires, surveys, and chart reviews. As a data analysis method, statistical analysis has to be implemented in the research. The use of a mixed methods approach will enable to understand the research problem more clearly. What is more, mixed methods approach implies the visualization of data. It is easier to understand the results of analysis if they are presented in a table, diagram, graph, or chart. Effective visualization helps users to analyze and conclude about data and evidence. For instance, in his article, Sohail (2013) uses a mixed methods approach to determine the connection between stress and academic performance and underline the sources of stress. However, some challenges can be faced when using a mixed methods approach. Combining the two types of data requires a lot of time and resources. The compiling and analysis of data is considered to be difficult too. Moreover, there is not a lot of guidance on this method.
To sum up, the research will examine the link between transitional care interventions and a reduction of hospital readmissions among Medicare patients. It will also look at the most effective transitional care measures in terms of their intensity. To answer the research questions, it is important not to limit the study using only qualitative methods such as participation observation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. Although there are a few difficulties related to a mixed methods approach, it is recommended to implement because it provides a variety of advantages that offset some weaknesses of both quantitative and qualitative research.
Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. New York, NY: Sage Publications.
Sohail, N. (2013). Stress and academic performance among medical students. J Coll Physicians Surg Pak, 23(1), 67-71.
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Verhaegh, K., MacNeil-Vroomen, J., Eslami, S., Geerlings, S., de Rooij, S., & Buurman, B. (2014). Transitional care interventions prevent hospital readmissions for adults with chronic illnesses. Health Affairs, 33(9), 1531-1539.