Women's College Research Institute

Jump to body content

New tool aims to keep mental health patients out of hospital

February 2016

Dr. Simone VigodWhen individuals hospitalized for psychiatric reasons are discharged from a hospital, some are at risk of being admitted again within a month for mental health issues. In fact, about one in seven end up back in a hospital—which puts a strain on the patients and their families, as well as the healthcare system.

“Readmission after a psychiatric hospitalization disrupts a patient’s transition back into the community and therefore their recovery process,” says Dr. Simone Vigod, psychiatrist and scientist at Women’s College Hospital. “And when it is unnecessary, it is also a financial burden on the health care system.”

Readmission may, however, be prevented in some cases. In clinical trials, various interventions have been shown to reduce early readmission rates for these patients, especially those at the highest risk. The challenge is being able to identify high-risk patients and offer them appropriate supports and services. Until now no tool has existed to help healthcare providers make that assessment.

To address this gap, Dr. Vigod led a team to develop a new clinical tool that can predict which psychiatric patients are at a high risk of being re-hospitalized within a month. The team created and validated the tool, which they named the “READMIT index,” using population health data at the Institute of Clinical and Evaluative Sciences from more than 65,000 patients. The research was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

“We designed a simple scale that’s very easy to use,” says Dr. Vigod. “It uses variables that can be easily collected by a clinical team or providers. And patients who score high on READMIT can be provided with specialized supports and services upon discharge to help them transition to community care.”

The new tool has garnered interest locally and internationally, with health care institutions in the USA and Europe requesting to use the tool. It has the potential to improve psychiatric patient care and patient outcomes everywhere. It could also be used in a research context to help identify participants for clinical trials evaluating specific interventions.

To learn more about the tool, click here

Back to February issue of Impact

Jump to top page
  • Fully affiliated with:
  • University of Toronto

  • A member of:
  • Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO)