The economic impact of Staphylococcus aureus infection in New York City hospitals.
We modeled estimates of the incidence, deaths, and direct medical costs of Staphylococcus aureus infections in hospitalized patients in the New York City metropolitan area in 1995 by using hospital discharge data collected by the New York State Department of Health and standard sources for the costs of health care. We also examined the relative impact of methicillin-resistant versus -sensitive strains of S. aureus and of community-acquired versus nosocomial infections. S. aureus-associated hospitalizations resulted in approximately twice the length of stay, deaths, and medical costs of typical hospitalizations; methicillin-resistant and -sensitive infections had similar direct medical costs, but resistant infections caused more deaths (21% versus 8%). Community-acquired and nosocomial infections had similar death rates, but community-acquired infections appeared to have increased direct medical costs per patient ($35,300 versus $28,800). The results of our study indicate that reducing the incidence of methicillin-resistant and -sensitive nosocomial infections would reduce the societal costs of S. aureus infection. (+info)
Safe working practices and HIV infection: knowledge, attitudes, perception of risk, and policy in hospital.
OBJECTIVES--To assess the knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of risk of occupational HIV transmission in hospital in relation to existing guidelines. DESIGN--Cross sectional anonymous questionnaire survey of all occupational groups. SETTING--One large inner city teaching hospital. SUBJECTS--All 1530 staff working in the hospital in October 1991 and 22 managers. MAIN MEASURES--Knowledge of safe working practices and hospital guidelines; attitudes towards patients with AIDS; perception of risk of occupational transmission of HIV; availability of guidelines. RESULTS--The response rate in the questionnaire survey was 63% (958/1530). Although staff across all occupational groups knew of the potential risk of infection from needlestick injury (98%, 904/922), significantly more non-clinical staff (ambulance, catering, and domestic staff) than clinical staff (doctors, nurses, and paramedics) thought HIV could be transmitted by giving blood (38%, 153/404 v 12%, 40/346; chi 2 = 66.1 p < 0.001); one in ten clinical staff believed this. Except for midwives, half of staff in most occupational groups and 19% (17/91) of doctors and 22% (28/125) of nurses thought gloves should be worn in all contacts with people with AIDS. Most staff (62%, 593/958), including 38% (36/94) of doctors and 52% (67/128) of nurses thought patients should be routinely tested on admission, 17% of doctors and 19% of nurses thought they should be isolated in hospital. One in three staff perceived themselves at risk of HIV. Midwives, nurses, and theatre technicians were most aware of guidelines for safe working compared with only half of doctors, ambulance, and paramedical staff and no incinerator staff. CONCLUSIONS--Policy guidelines for safe working practices for patients with HIV infection and AIDS need to be disseminated across all occupational groups to reduce negative staff attitudes, improve knowledge of occupational transmission, establish an appropriate perception of risk, and create a supportive and caring hospital environment for people with HIV. IMPLICATIONS--Managers need to disseminate policy guidelines and information to all staff on an ongoing basis. (+info)
Improving management of asthma: closing the loop or progressing along the audit spiral?
OBJECTIVE: To assess whether the management of asthma has improved from three consecutive surveys. DESIGN: Retrospective case note survey of acute asthma admissions in 1983 and 1989; case notes selected from 1985-6 survey of prospectively identified patients to include only patients with a final discharge code of asthma. SETTING: A large city teaching hospital. Patients--101 patients with acute asthma as the primary diagnosis in 1983; 85 in 1985-6; and 133 in 1989, 14 of whom were subsequently transferred elsewhere. MAIN MEASURES: Conformity with a checklist of important aspects of the process of asthma management including initial assessment, treatment, supervision, and discharge and review arrangements. RESULTS: All patient groups were similar in age, smoking habit, and stay in hospital and, as an objective guide to severity of asthma, had similar initial pulse rates. Major improvements occurred in management: by 1989, 119(90%) patients were treated with oral corticosteroids (69(68%), 67(79%) in 1983, 1985-6 respectively) and 109(82%) with oxygen (62(61%), 51(60%)) (both p < 0.001). 114(86%) had regular recording of peak flow measurements (53(52%), 54(64%); p < 0.001), and 103/119(86%) were discharged taking oral corticosteroids (66(65%), 63(74%); p < 0.01). Significantly fewer patients, however, had their regular inhaled corticosteroid treatment increased on discharge (38/119(32%) v 53(52%), 39(46%); p < 0.01), but more were receiving high dose inhaled treatment on admission. CONCLUSIONS: The management of asthma improved significantly, and the normal practice of doctors has changed in an area of practice with longstanding problems. (+info)
Clinical complaints: a means of improving quality of care.
OBJECTIVES: To establish the reasons for clinical complaints, complainants' feelings about the original incident, and their motivation in complaining. DESIGN: Postal questionnaire survey. SETTING: 24 hospitals in North West Thames region. SUBJECTS: 1007 complainants who had written to 20 hospitals between 1 January 1992 and 30 June 1993 about a complaint involving a clinical incident. MAIN MEASURES: Personal details, the nature of the complaint, the complainant's reaction to the original incident, the quality of the explanation at the time of the incident, the reasons for making a complaint, and what would have prevented the incident. RESULTS: 491 completed questionnaires were received (response rate 49%). Complaints arose from serious incidents, generally a clinical problem combined with staff insensitivity and poor communication. Clinical complaints were seldom about a clinical incident alone (54; 11%); most (353; 72%) included a clinical component and dissatisfaction with personal treatment of the patient or care. In all, 242(49%) complainants reported a need for additional medical treatment, 206(42%) reported that the patient's condition had worsened as a result of treatment, and 175(36%) that side effects had been experienced. In 26(5%) cases the patient had died. Complainants' primary motive was to prevent recurrence of a similar incident. Lack of detailed information and staff attitude were identified as important criticisms. CONCLUSIONS: The emphasis must be on obtaining a better response to complaints at the clinical level by the staff involved in the original incident, not simply on adjusting the complaints procedure. Staff training in responding to distressed and dissatisfied patients is essential, and monitoring complaints must form part of a more general risk management programme. (+info)
Using evidence-based techniques to modify anemia screening practice.
Routine screening of adolescents for iron-deficiency anemia is a widespread but unproven practice. Using evidence-based quality improvement techniques, including literature synthesis and presentation of clinic-specific data, my colleagues and I reevaluated a clinic policy of obtaining complete blood counts to screen for anemia in all new adolescent patients. Medical record review revealed clinically unsuspected anemia in 8 (3.5) of 229 patients screened. All cases were mild, and only two patients received iron therapy. These data, coupled with national recommendations, led to a reversal of the clinic's policy requiring screening of all new patients. One year later, complete blood counts were obtained for only 6% of new patients. (+info)
Economic consequences of early inpatient discharge to community-based rehabilitation for stroke in an inner-London teaching hospital.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In an inner-London teaching hospital, a randomized trial of "conventional" care versus early discharge to community-based therapy found no significant differences in clinical outcomes between patient groups. This report examines the economic consequences of the alternative strategies. METHODS: One hundred sixty-seven patients received the early discharge package, and 164 received conventional care. Patient utilization of health and social services was recorded over a 12-month period, and cost was determined using data from provider departments and other published sources. RESULTS: Inpatient stay after randomization was 12 days (intervention group) versus 18 days (controls) (P=0.0001). Average units of therapy per patient were as follows: physiotherapy, 22.4 (early discharge) versus 15.0 (conventional) (P=0.0006); occupational therapy, 29.0 versus 23.8 (P=0.002); speech therapy, 13. 7 versus 5.8 (P=0.0001). The early discharge group had more annual hospital physician contacts (P=0.015) and general practitioner clinic visits (P=0.019) but fewer incidences of day hospital attendance (P=0.04). Other differences in utilization were nonsignificant. Average annual costs per patient were pound sterling 6800 (early discharge) and pound sterling 7432 (conventional). The early discharge group had lower inpatient costs per patient (pound sterling 4862 [71% of total cost] versus pound sterling 6343 [85%] for controls) but higher non-inpatient costs (pound sterling 1938 [29%] versus pound sterling 1089 [15%]). Further analysis demonstrated that early discharge is unlikely to lead to financial savings; its main benefit is to release capacity for an expansion in stroke caseload. CONCLUSIONS: Overall results of this trial indicate that early discharge to community rehabilitation for stroke is cost-effective. It may provide a means of addressing the predicted increase in need for stroke care within existing hospital capacity. (+info)
Treatment and rehabilitation on a stroke unit improves 5-year survival. A community-based study.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: We have previously reported a marked reduction in mortality up to 1 year after treatment and rehabilitation on a stroke unit versus on general neurological and medical wards in unselected stroke patients. In the present study we wanted to test the hypothesis that this mortality-reducing effect is not temporary but is long lasting. METHODS: We performed a community-based comparison of outcome in 1241 stroke patients from 2 adjacent communities in Copenhagen: in one (Frederiksberg), treatment and rehabilitation were provided on general neurological and medical wards, and in the other (Bispebjerg), treatment and rehabilitation were provided on a single large stroke unit. RESULTS: The 2 stroke populations were comparable regarding age, sex, initial stroke severity, lesion diameter on CT, and stroke subtype (hemorrhage/infarct), but patients treated on the stroke unit had a higher frequency of comorbidity and lower incomes. One-year mortality was 39% (general wards) versus 32% (stroke unit) (P=0.01). This difference was still present 5 years after stroke (71% versus 64%; P=0.02). In a multiple logistic regression model of 5-year mortality, treatment on a stroke unit reduced the relative risk of death by 40% (odds ratio, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.42 to 0.85; P<0.01), independent of age, sex, stroke severity, and comorbidity. CONCLUSIONS: The mortality-reducing effect of treatment and rehabilitation on a dedicated stroke unit is long lasting rather than temporary. Stroke unit treatment reduced the relative risk of death within 5 years after stroke by 40% in an unselected, community-based stroke population. These results emphasize the need for organization of treatment and rehabilitation of unselected stroke patients on dedicated stroke units. (+info)
Hospital-based study of severe malaria and associated deaths in Myanmar.
The present study identifies factors that contribute to malaria deaths in township hospitals reporting large numbers of such deaths in Myanmar. Between July and December 1995, we identified a total of 101 patients with severe and complicated malaria by screening the cases admitted to hospital with a primary diagnosis of falciparum malaria. Unrousable coma and less marked impairment of consciousness with or without other severe malaria complications, in contrast to severe malaria anaemia, were associated with all malaria deaths. Adult patients with severe malaria were 2.8 times more likely to die than child patients, with the higher risk of death among adults probably being associated with previous exposure to malaria, delay in seeking treatment and severity of the illness before admission. In view of this, we consider that malaria mortality could be reduced by improving peripheral facilities for the management of severe malaria and providing appropriate education to communities, without stepping up vector control activities. (+info)