UB pharmacy researcher aims to develop real-time algorithm to lower hospital readmission rates

Older man receives oxygen with help of nurse.

Patient with COPD receives supplemental oxygen. 

Project funded by career development award for David Jacobs seeks to help patients with COPD

Release Date: May 19, 2021

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Portrait of David Jacobs.
“Each year, 7.8 million hospital-discharged patients are readmitted, costing the United States $17 billion. ”
David Jacobs, assistant professor of pharmacy practice in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

BUFFALO, N.Y. – To lower hospital readmission rates for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), University at Buffalo pharmacy researcher David Jacobs has received a $962,000 award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to develop a real-time readmission risk prediction algorithm.

Through a five-year Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award, Jacobs will combine social information with rich clinical data to build predictive models that will be integrated into patient-centric interventions and tested in clinical practices.

If successful, the research will help clinicians provide individualized treatment at the transition from hospital to home for COPD patients, who experience high rates of early hospital readmission, says Jacobs.

“Each year, 7.8 million hospital-discharged patients are readmitted, costing the United States $17 billion,” says Jacobs, PharmD, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacy practice in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“High readmission rates are linked to several quality of care and patient safety factors, such as medication-related problems, inaccurate information transfer, and lack of care coordination with primary care,” he says. “Our focus will be to apply innovative informatic techniques to the development of risk prediction models for hospital readmissions that ultimately personalizes care management interventions.”

Although predictive models have been developed, their ability to gauge hospital readmissions remains poor, particularly for COPD patients, likely because detailed social information is absent from risk stratification tools, he says. To determine social risk factors that drive hospital readmissions, Jacobs will conduct interviews with patients, their caregivers and clinicians.

The Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award will also provide Jacobs with guidance and resources to grow as an independent clinical investigator. Sanjay Sethi, MD, assistant vice president for health sciences and professor and chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, will serve as the primary mentor.

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