“Frailty Index” Helps Cut Readmissions and ICU Stays

The Veterans Administration and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have created an algorithmic tool that is designed to alert physicians to patients who may be at risk for surgical complications following elective surgery. The tool, called the “Frailty Index,” focuses on areas that may help patients to improve their health or “prehabilitate” prior to surgery. These include nutrition, weight management, exercise, smoking cessation and goals of care. After determining which patients are at risk, the surgeons must intervene and suggest patients improve their health prior to surgery. This may include referrals to other healthcare professionals.

In a quote attributed to Daniel Hall, MD, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, Healthleaders reports, “While strong evidence clearly shows outcomes, including mortality readmission, length of stay and complication rates, are all related to the frailty score — the evidence base for intervening is not yet fully developed.” Improving patient outcomes, shortening length of stay and reducing readmissions are all important aspects of providing quality medical care.

Click here to read the data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Click here to read Healthleaders’ summary of the JAMA article.