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(1/674) Longer hospital length of stay is not related to better clinical outcomes in congestive heart failure.

Efforts to reduce hospital lengths of stay (LOS) are prevalent, despite limited understanding of the clinical impact of duration of hospitalization. Thus, we sought to evaluate the clinical relevance of LOS in congestive heart failure (CHF) by studying its relationship to inpatient and post-discharge outcomes among individuals with this disorder. Ten acute care community hospitals in New York State participated in this investigation. The study population consisted of 1,402 consecutive patients, predominantly elderly, who were hospitalized for evaluation and treatment of moderately severe or severe CHF. The patients' medical records were abstracted by trained personnel immediately after hospital discharge. Patients were followed forward for six month's time to track death and readmission rates, as well as functional status, quality of life, and satisfaction. Mean LOS for the group was 7.9 +/- 9.2 days. Longer LOS had a neutral or negative association with patient outcomes. Specifically, longer LOS was linked to a higher adjusted mortality rate during the index hospitalization, as well as a greater adjusted risk of death during the post-discharge period. Moreover, longer LOS was associated with worse post-discharge functional class and a trend for less patient satisfaction with their physicians' care. We conclude that death becomes more prevalent and functional measures decline in association with prolonged hospital stays for heart failure. Although these findings may be of use in planning management strategies, they offer no proof that reducing the costs of care will improve clinical outcomes in CHF.  (+info)

(2/674) Physicians' perceptions of managed care.

We wished to determine physicians' views and knowledge of managed care, particularly their beliefs about the provisions of managed care contracts in terms of legality and ethics. A questionnaire was sent to the 315 physicians of the medical staff of Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut regarding managed care and managed care contracts. Sixty-six responses were received within a 45-day period (20.9% return). Although only 1 of 11 contract provisions presented in one section of the questionnaire was illegal in Connecticut, a majority of physicians believed 7 of the 11 were illegal. On average, 50% of physicians polled thought each of the provisions was illegal, and a varying majority of physicians (53% to 95.4%) felt the various provisions were unethical. The majority of respondents (84.8% to 92.4%) believed that nondisclosure provisions were unethical. Ninety-seven percent thought managed care interferes with quality of care, and 72.7% of physicians felt that the managed care industry should be held legally responsible for ensuring quality of care. However, 92.4% of physicians considered themselves to be ethically responsible for ensuring quality of care. Physicians have a poor understanding of the legal aspects of managed care contracts but feel strongly that many provisions of these contracts are unethical. Physicians also believe that managed care is causing medicine to be practiced in a manner that is contrary to patients' interests and that legal recourse is needed to prevent this.  (+info)

(3/674) Evaluation of "solitary" thyroid nodules in a community practice: a managed care approach.

Evaluation of thyroid nodules remains a challenge for primary care physicians. To include or exclude the presence of malignancy in a thyroid nodule, radioisotope scan, ultrasound, and fine-needle aspiration biopsy of the thyroid generally are used. The objectives of this study were to determine the utility and cost effectiveness of fine-needle aspiration biopsy of solitary thyroid nodules in a community setting; to compare the cost of fine-needle aspiration biopsy with that of radioisotope scan and ultrasound; and to determine whether the practice of obtaining radioisotope scans and ultrasound has changed in the 1990s compared with the 1980s. Patients were referred by community physicians to university-based endocrinologists for evaluation of thyroid nodules. Many of the patients had previously undergone radioisotope scans and ultrasound scans at the discretion of their primary care physicians. All patients underwent fine-needle aspiration biopsy. The biopsy results were evaluated prospectively, and the practice of community physicians' obtaining radioisotope scans and ultrasound scans was compared for the 1980s and 1990s. Eighty-three patients underwent 104 biopsies. In 20 biopsies the specimens were inadequate; the others showed 70 benign, 9 suspicious, and 4 malignant lesions. All four patients with biopsy findings read as malignant were found to have malignant growth at surgical procedures. Two benign biopsy findings were false-negative results. Malignant growth was correctly diagnosed later for one patient at a second biopsy and for the other because of growth of the nodule. The cost of 104 biopsies was $20,800. The cost of radioisotope scans was $22,400, and the cost of ultrasound scans was $10,640. The frequency of obtaining radioisotope scans (84.5% vs 77%) and ultrasound scans (65% vs 45%) was slightly higher in the 1990s compared with the 1980s. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy is a safe and cost effective initial evaluation modality for smaller community-based centers, as it is at large tertiary centers. The cost incurred ($33,040) in obtaining the radioisotope scans and ultrasound scans could have been saved if fine-needle aspiration biopsy had been used as the initial diagnostic procedure for evaluation of these nodules. Although radioisotope scan and ultrasound scan are of little diagnostic help in the evaluation of thyroid nodules, they continued to be obtained at a high frequency during the last decade.  (+info)

(4/674) Determinants of patient choice of medical provider: a case study in rural China.

This study examines the factors that influence patient choice of medical provider in the three-tier health care system in rural China: village health posts, township health centres, and county (and higher level) hospitals. The model is estimated using a multinomial logit approach applied to a sample of 1877 cases of outpatient treatment from a household survey in Shunyi county of Beijing in 1993. This represents the first effort to identify and quantify the impact of individual factors on patient choice of provider in China. The results show that relative to self-pay patients, Government and Labour Health Insurance beneficiaries are more likely to use county hospitals, while patients covered by the rural Cooperative Medical System (CMS) are more likely to use village-level facilities. In addition, high-income patients are more likely to visit county hospitals than low-income patients. The results also reveal that disease patterns have a significant impact on patient choice of provider, implying that the ongoing process of health transition will lead people to use the higher quality services offered at the county hospitals. We discuss the implications of the results for organizing health care finance and delivery in rural China to achieve efficiency and equity.  (+info)

(5/674) Primary angioplasty for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction: experience at two community hospitals without cardiac surgery.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to establish the safety and efficacy of primary percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) at two community hospitals without on-site cardiac surgery. BACKGROUND: Though randomized studies indicate that primary angioplasty in AMI may result in superior outcomes compared with fibrinolytic therapy, the performance of primary angioplasty at hospitals without cardiac surgery is debated. METHODS: Three experienced operators performed 506 consecutive immediate coronary angiograms with primary angioplasty when appropriate in patients with suspected AMI at two community hospitals without cardiac surgery, following established rigorous program criteria. RESULTS: Clinical high risk predictors (Killip class 3 or 4, age > or = 75 years, anterior AMI, out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation) and/or angiographic high risk predictors (left main or three-vessel disease or ejection fraction <45%) were present in 69.6%. Angioplasty was performed in 66.2%, with a median time from emergency department presentation to first angiogram of 94 min and a procedural success rate of 94.3%. The in-hospital mortality for the entire study population was 5.3%. Of those without initial cardiogenic shock, the in-hospital mortality was 3.0%. Of 300 patients who were discharged after primary angioplasty, only four died within the first 6 months, with 97.7% follow-up. No patient died or needed emergent aortocoronary bypass surgery because of new myocardial jeopardy caused by a complication of the cardiac catheterization or angioplasty procedure. CONCLUSIONS: Immediate coronary angiography with primary angioplasty when appropriate in patients with AMI can be performed safely and effectively in community hospitals without on-site cardiac surgery when rigorous program criteria are established.  (+info)

(6/674) Financial and organizational determinants of hospital diversification into subacute care.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the financial, market, and organizational determinants of hospital diversification into subacute inpatient care by acute care hospitals in order to guide hospital managers in undertaking such diversification efforts. STUDY SETTING: All nongovernment, general, acute care, community hospitals that were operating during the years 1985 through 1991 (3,986 hospitals in total). DATA SOURCES: Cross-sectional, time-series data were drawn from the American Hospital Association's (AHA) Annual Survey of Hospitals, the Health Care Financing Administration's (HCFA) Medicare Cost Reports, a latitude and longitude listing for all community hospital addresses, and the Area Resource File (ARF) published in 1992, which provides county level environmental variables. STUDY DESIGN: The study is longitudinal, enabling the specification of temporal patterns in conversion, causal inferences, and the treatment of right-censoring problems. The unit of analysis is the individual hospital. KEY FINDINGS: Significant differences were found in the average level of subacute care offered by investor-owned versus tax-exempt hospitals. After controlling for selection bias, financial performance, risk, size, occupancy, and other variables, IO hospitals offered 31.3 percent less subacute care than did NFP hospitals. Financial performance and risk are predictors of IO hospitals' diversification into subacute care, but not of NFP hospitals' activities in this market. Resource availability appears to expedite expansion into subacute care for both types of hospitals. CONCLUSIONS: Investment criteria and strategy differ between investor-owned and tax-exempt hospitals.  (+info)

(7/674) Temporal trends in cardiogenic shock complicating acute myocardial infarction.

BACKGROUND: Limited information is available on trends in the incidence of and mortality due to cardiogenic shock complicating acute myocardial infarction. We studied the incidence of cardiogenic shock complicating acute myocardial infarction and in-hospital death rates among patients with this condition in a single community from 1975 through 1997. METHODS: We conducted an observational study of 9076 residents of metropolitan Worcester, Massachusetts, who were hospitalized with confirmed acute myocardial infarction in all local hospitals during 11 one-year periods between 1975 and 1997. Our study included periods before and after the advent of reperfusion therapy. RESULTS: The incidence of cardiogenic shock remained relatively stable over time, averaging 7.1 percent among patients with acute myocardial infarction. The results of a multivariable regression analysis indicated that the patients hospitalized during recent study years were not at a substantially lower risk for shock than patients hospitalized in the mid-to-late 1970s. Patients in whom cardiogenic shock developed had a significantly greater risk of dying during hospitalization (71.7 percent) than those who did not have cardiogenic shock (12.0 percent, P<0.001). A significant trend toward an increase in in-hospital survival among patients with cardiogenic shock in the mid-to-late 1990s was found in crude and adjusted analyses. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate no significant change in the incidence of cardiogenic shock complicating acute myocardial infarction over a 23-year period. However, the short-term survival rate has increased in recent years at the same time as the use of coronary reperfusion strategies has increased.  (+info)

(8/674) Goal attainment scaling in a geriatric day hospital. Team and program benefits.

PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED: The Geriatric Day Program (GDP) of the Capital Health Region in Victoria, BC, is concerned with effective team processes, accountability for health service outcomes, and improving the quality of programs. The GDP identified a need to improve its interdisciplinary processes and generate useful patient outcome data. OBJECTIVE OF PROGRAM: To determine whether Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) could be introduced to facilitate interdisciplinary processes and to generate useful health outcome data. MAIN COMPONENTS OF PROGRAM: The GAS procedures were incorporated into clinical routines based on published guidelines. The authors determined GAS outcome scores for patients who completed the program and developed outcome scores for specific geriatric problem areas requiring intervention. Outcome scores were made available to the clinical care team and to program managers for continuous quality improvement purposes. CONCLUSIONS: The GAS process was successfully implemented and was acceptable to clinicians and managers at the GDP. Team processes were thought to be improved by focusing on patient goals in a structured way. The GAS provided data on both patient outcomes and outcomes of interventions in specific problem areas. Accountability for patient care increased. Goal Attainment Scaling provided indicators of care for which clinicians could develop program quality improvements.  (+info)