Informatics Research Seminar: A Graphical and Analytics Approach to Understanding Hospital Re-admissions in North Carolina

September 30 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker: William Saunders, PhD
Presented from UNC-C

Broadcast Link: Seminar


Hospitals will be penalized and lose revenue if they do not meet readmission quality targets (CMS quality metrics).  Commercial payers are also implementing risk-based contracts, and health systems must take on additional risk.  Recent contracts are transitioning healthcare from a fee-for-service delivery system to a risk-sharing pay for performance system where 1) Quality is measured and hospitals are forced to assume some of the risk associated with poor quality care; 2) Risk sharing is measured as readmissions within 30 days post-discharge (marker for poor quality); and 3) Readmissions rates beyond determined thresholds will generate reductions in total Medicare payments to the facility.  The purpose of this analysis was to examine readmission rates across the state of North Carolina, with a focus on heart failure, pneumonia, acute MI, hip & knee replacements, and COPD, using discharge data from North Carolina hospitals from the Healthcare Utilization Project (HCUP) (administered by the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ)).  In the past year, we’ve presented 3 posters at American Public Health Association, and continue to perform data analytics as hospitals continue to transition to a risk-based delivery model which allows them to take on risk, deliver high quality care and maintain profit margins.  In addition, we will highlight counties areas where readmission is a problem and examine high-risk patients in relation to additional variables related to severity as well as travel time to the hospital.


Dr. Bill Saunders came to the Department of Public Health Sciences at UNC Charlotte as an Assistant Professor after extensive research work in private sector. He received his PhD in Epidemiology and MPH (Biostatistics) from UNC Chapel Hill.  Dr. Saunders has led research teams at several companies, including GE Healthcare, Premier, Inc., and GlaxoSmithKline.  He continues to be a researcher and analytic consultant with an interest in the application of varied data sources to outcomes research studies, as well as 1) factors related to hospital readmission and 2) risk factors and drug utilization of diabetic and obese populations. Other research interests include delivery of health care to patients with mental illness and cystic fibrosis. Teaching specialties include Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Healthcare Informatics, Outcomes Research, Quality Measurement, and Pharmacoeconomics. Bill is currently the Director of the Health Informatics PSM and Certificate programs at UNC Charlotte.