In this session, Drs. Michelle Mourad and Christopher Moriates took a systematic approach to answer quality questions that we commonly encounter in our hospitalist practice. They reviewed current evidence including meta-analyses and systematic reviews to arrive at an answer for various quality-related questions. These are summarized below:
- What are the common features of interventions that have successfully reduced re-admissions? Effective interventions that enhance patient capacity to reliably access and engage in post-discharge care has been associated with success in decreasing re-admissions.
- Does patient engagement correlate with decreased resource use or readmissions? Patient activation is defined as knowledge, skills, confidence and inclination to assume responsibility for managing one’s own health. A higher patient activation score reduced the risk of 30-day hospital re-utilization.
- Does patients’ report of their healthcare experience reflect quality of care? Patient satisfaction scores may be a reflection of their desires (for example, to get pain medications) regardless of clinical benefit. In these situations, quality should be based on achieving a mutual understanding of patient situation and treatment plan between the provider and patient.
- Is there any relationship between quality of care and health outcomes? Positive associations were found between patient experience and safety/effectiveness. Including patient experience in quality improvement, therefore, may lead to improvements in safety and effectiveness. Reducing the trauma of hospitalization could improve patient satisfaction and outcomes. Efforts such as personalization, providing rest and nourishment, reducing stress disruption and surprises as well as providing a post discharge safety net are strategies to reduce the trauma of hospitalization, improve satisfaction and patient outcomes.
- Is there anything we can do to make hand-offs safer? The I-PASS hand-off bundle for a systematic hand-off process was reviewed (Illness severity, Patient summary, Action list, Situation awareness, Synthesis by receiver) as a means of reducing medical errors. When used in conjunction with training, faculty development and a culture-change campaign, this was associated with improving patient safety without negatively affecting workflow.
- How can hospitalists deflate medical bills? Patient expectations of the benefits and harms of clinical interventions influences physician decision making and contributes to overuse and increased healthcare costs. Harm of excessive testing was underestimated in such situations. Conversations with patients, colleagues and the public are crucial to decreasing low value care. Physicians should discuss potential benefits and risks to address patient expectations. In addition, they should seek opportunities to better understand healthcare costs.
- How big of a problem is antibiotic overuse in hospitals and can we do better? In a national database review, more than half of all patients (55.7%) discharged from a hospital received antibiotics during their stay. There is a wide variation in antibiotic use across hospital wards. Reducing this exposure to broad spectrum antibiotics would lead to a 26% reduction in C. diff infections and reduce antibiotic resistance. To improve this over-utilization, stewardship programs should actively engage and educate clinicians, encourage clear antibiotic documentation in daily progress notes and use 72-hour antibiotic time-out during multidisciplinary rounds. TH