Clinicians who have gotten attached to patients being discharged shouldn't get too choked up-there's a good chance they'll be seeing them again, and soon.

Providers have been aware of problems with patient readmissions, but what was once a back-burner priority has suddenly grown into a looming dilemma, thanks to the move by Medicare to start penalizing hospitals that consistently show high rates of readmissions. And information technology plays a huge role in efforts to reduce readmissions, but providers are struggling to determine where I.T. will have the biggest impact in the process of extending the care continuum in a hybrid paper/electronic environment.

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