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Hospitalists Prone to Evidence-Based Treatments

Researchers from Harvard Medical School (Boston) and other institutions surveyed 213 pediatric hospitalists and a random sample of 352 community pediatricians. They found that, overall, the hospitalist group showed greater adherence to evidence-based therapies and tests for common pediatric illnesses in hospitalized patients, and relied less on those therapies and tests of unproven benefits.

Hourly Rounding Pays Off

According to a study by the Studer Group (Gulf Breeze, Fl.) and the Alliance for Health Care Research, having nurses round every hour results in an average 8.9-point increase in patient satisfaction, a 50% decrease in patient falls, a reduction in the use of call lights, and an undocumented improvement in clinical outcomes.

SHM Makes Acute Heart Failure a High Priority

SHM, supported in part by funding from Scios, Inc., will undertake a major outreach campaign on quality improvement related to acute heart failure. These initiatives will focus on the “front end” of the acutely decompensated heart failure patient admission, beginning with early diagnosis and aggressive treatment and intervention including emergency department and observation unit care to optimize outcomes.

“Hospitalists manage a significant number of heart failure patients across the hospital continuum,” says Larry Wellikson, MD, CEO of SHM. “Our goal is to improve heart failure care by disseminating the necessary tools and knowledge to hospitalists.”

Google as Diagnostic Tool

The popular Web site Google (Mountain View, Calif.) can help physicians with diagnoses, according to researchers from Princess Alexandria Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. The team “googled” symptoms of 26 mystery cases, and a Web search resulted in a correct diagnosis for 15 of them. The researchers call Google a useful aid for physicians.

SHM Participates in IHI Campaign

When the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) introduced its “5 Million Lives” campaign recently, SHM was one of the few organizations asked to speak about their part in the campaign.

“We are ready … and could not be more enthusiastic about participating in this landmark campaign,” said Russell Holman, M.D., SHM’s president-elect.

A Winning Team Reaps Rewards

Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Mass., and hospital medicine provider Cogent Healthcare (Irvine, Calif.) collaborated to achieve quality of care goals that earned the facility pay-for-performance bonuses from major commercial payers. Cogent used best practices that also helped reduce length of stay and unnecessary re-admissions, and improve patient and physician satisfaction.

A Prevalence of Persistent Pain

The “Health United States 2006” report issued by the National Center for Health Statistics (Hyattsville, Md.) finds a prevalence of pain in the U.S. One in four adults reported a daylong bout of pain in the last month, and one in 10 say they’ve suffered pain for at least a year.

Palliative Medicine Now Official Subspecialty

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) will establish a subspecialty certificate in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. “[This certification] affirms the concept that specialized knowledge and skills must be learned to care for the increasingly complex-care needs of the dying and their families,” says David Weissman, MD, FACP, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

Busy Shifts Put Elderly Admissions at Risk

Older patients admitted during busy hospital shifts may have a greater mortality rate, according to a study by the University of California San Francisco’s Moffitt-Long Hospital. The retrospective cohort analysis included 5,742 adults admitted to the general medicine service and intensive care unit without cardiovascular, neurologic, or cancer- related primary diagnoses. TH

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