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Determinants of patient choice for hospital readmission after township hospitalisation: a population-based retrospective study in China

09 Aug 2018


The lack of coordinated and appropriate healthcare across sectors has produced more patients for county hospitals in China. This study examined differences in patient choice between township and county hospitals for readmission after a first township hospitalisation, and the determinants that influenced this choice.


A retrospective study of readmissions across hospitals after a first admission in township hospital. A township–township (TT) inpatient group and a township–county (TC) inpatient group were compared. A two-level logistic regression model was used to examine the determinants of choice for hospital readmission.


Data were drawn from a population-based health utilisation database for Qianjiang District, China, from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2013.


This study focused on readmitted patients whose first admission was in a township hospital. Readmission cases were identified as the same diagnosis (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision) in a subsequent hospitalisation within 30 days. In total, 6764 readmissions had first admissions in township hospitals.

Primary outcome measures

Patient choice for hospital readmission after a first township hospitalisation.


The TT group accounted for 62.5% (4225) and the TC group for 37.5% (2539) of readmissions in 6 years, and the proportion of TC readmissions in total inpatients increased from 1.66% to 1.89%. Readmission rates varied among towns (p<0.001). Differences between the TC and TT groups included: length of stay (LOS) of first admission (6.96 days vs 9.23 days), average interval between admissions (6.03 days vs 14.95 days) and disease category. Admission year, age, travel time to county hospital, interval between admissions, first admission LOS and disease category were determinants of choice for hospital readmission.


Patients whose first admission was in a township hospital were more likely to be readmitted to a county hospital. A combination of first LOS and interval between admissions may be an effective identification index for TC readmission.

Trial registration number


Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open