Based on Medicare claims from 95 study hospitals and comparison data from 11 surrounding states, patients in hospitals using the checklist were significantly more likely to survive a hospital stay. The project was not, however, sufficiently powered to show a significant difference in length of stay.
A second Keystone Project study showed that five simple therapies aimed at lessening the time spent on ventilators, including elevating the head of the bed 30 degrees, giving anticoagulants, and lessening sedation, combined with education and a hospital culture supporting patient safety, reduced cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia by more than 70%.2
A comprehensive, video-conference-based intervention to support implementing six evidence-based quality practices in 15 community hospital ICUs in Canada improved the adoption of these practices. Expert-led forums and educational sessions promoted the sequential dissemination of treatment algorhythms, with a new practice targeted every four months.3—LB
- Lipitz-Snyderman A, Steinwachs D, Needham DM, Colantuoni E, Morlock LL, Pronovost PJ. Impact of a statewide intensive care unit quality improvement initiative on hospital mortality and length of stay: retrospective comparative analysis. BMJ. 2011;342:d219.
- Berenholtz SM, Pham JC, Thompson DA, Needhamm et al. Collaborative cohort study of an intervention to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia in the intensive care unit. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2011;(4):305-314.
- Scales DC, Dainty K, Hales B. A multifaceted intervention for quality improvement in a network of intensive care units: a cluster randomized trial. JAMA. 2011;305:363-372.
HM-Based Quality Research
Homeless Respite Helps Avoid Rehospitalizations
Some readmissions come about because things fall apart when patients are discharged with a follow-up plan that is not realistic to their circumstances. This is especially true for homeless patients, says Audrey Kuang, MD, a hospitalist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) in San Jose, Calif., and medical director of the Santa Clara County Medical Respite Program, a shelter for homeless patients following discharge from seven San Jose area hospitals.
Dr. Kuang described the collaborative program in a plenary presentation for the Research, Innovations, and Clinical Vignettes competition at HM10.
SCVMC is a county safety net hospital, and Dr. Kuang says the hospitalists “see a fair amount of homeless patients with recurrent exacerbations.” Patients given prescriptions for medications they can’t afford, special diets, or instructions for bed rest are then discharged to the street; inevitably, they are readmitted.
Dr. Kuang began tracking patients who had prolonged hospital stays because of homelessness or unsafe social situations. Her presentation to administrators led to participating hospitals contributing $25,000 each to launch the program with a multidisciplinary team, which included Dr. Kuang.
In its first year, 200 referrals were made to the respite program; 60% were accepted. The most common diagnoses were foot fractures, foot infections, and cancer. Quantified clinical outcomes are still being compiled, Dr. Kuang said, although the participating hospitals have reported decreased rehospitalizations and bed days—results documented in other studies of respite programs.1
“The main idea is post-acute medical care and support for homeless patients in need,” she explained. “Hospitalists may feel this is beyond our scope of practice, but it is our responsibility to know what’s going on out there.”—LB
- Buchanan D, Doblin B, Sai T, Garcia P. The effects of respite care for homeless patients: a cohort study. Am J Public Health. 2006;96:1278-1281.
By The Numbers
$44,000, $46,659, $120,000: EHR Implementation Costs Higher than Medicare Reimbursement
A new study in Health Affairs on the first-year costs of implementing electronic health records (EHR) in a 450-physician North Texas primary-care network doesn’t translate directly to HM, but figures showing that the installation cost is more for an average five-physician practice than Medicare is offering in incentive pay might serve as a warning sign for HM groups looking to build EHR into their practice: