RIV awards go to studies of interhospital transfers and ‘virtual hospitalists’



ORLANDO – The top award in the research arm of the Research, Innovations and Clinical Vignettes (RIV) competition, bestowed Monday night at HM18, went to investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who looked for trouble spots in interhospital transfers across more than 24,000 cases.

In the innovations category, also awarded Tuesday night, the top award went to clinicians and researchers at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, who attempted to use “virtual hospitalists” to improve local care at rural, critical-access hospitals.

The winning study in the research arm set out to pinpoint problems that could be attributed to process in cases of patients being transferred from one acute care facility to another, and was presented by Stephanie Mueller, MD, MPH, SFHM, associate physician in the hospital medicine unit at Brigham and Women’s.

Dr. Mueller and her colleagues looked at transfers to the hospital from 2005 to 2013. They analyzed the effects that three factors – day of the week, time of day, and admission team “busyness” on the day of the transfer – had on transfers to intensive care within 48 hours and on 30-day mortality. They looked at data for Monday through Thursday, compared with Friday through Sunday, at day, evening, and night transfers as well as the number of patient admissions and discharges to the admitting team on that day.

They found that nighttime arrival was linked with an increased chance of being transferred to the ICU and with 30-day mortality. They also found that weekday arrival was associated with lower odds of mortality among patients getting cardiothoracic and gastrointestinal surgery.

“I think that these are potential targets in which we can actually do something to mitigate the outcomes for these patients,” Dr. Mueller said. “I’m working on a number of studies related to this topic and so it’s sort of validating that this is an important topic and that I should continue doing what I’m doing.”

Raj Sehgal, MD, FHM, a judge in the research arm and associate professor at University of Texas, San Antonio, praised the relevance of the project.


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