(1/2362) Dictated versus database-generated discharge summaries: a randomized clinical trial.

BACKGROUND: Hospital discharge summaries communicate information necessary for continuing patient care. They are most commonly generated by voice dictation and are often of poor quality. The objective of this study was to compare discharge summaries created by voice dictation with those generated from a clinical database. METHODS: A randomized clinical trial was performed in which discharge summaries for patients discharged from a general internal medicine service at a tertiary care teaching hospital in Ottawa were created by voice dictation (151 patients) or from a database (142 patients). Patients had been admitted between September 1996 and June 1997. The trial was preceded by a baseline cohort study in which all summaries were created by dictation. For the database group, information on forms completed by housestaff was entered into a database and collated into a discharge summary. For the dictation group, housestaff dictated narrative letters. The proportion of patients for whom a summary was generated within 4 weeks of discharge was recorded. Physicians receiving the summary rated its quality, completeness, organization and timeliness on a 100-mm visual analogue scale. Housestaff preference was also determined. RESULTS: Patients in the database group and the dictation group were similar. A summary was much more likely to be generated within 4 weeks of discharge for patients in the database group than for those in the dictation group (113 [79.6%] v. 86 [57.0%]; p < 0.001). Summary quality was similar (mean rating 72.7 [standard deviation (SD) 19.3] v. 74.9 [SD 16.6]), as were assessments of completeness (73.4 [SD 19.8] v. 78.2 [SD 14.9]), organization (77.4 [SD 16.3] v. 79.3 [SD 17.2]) and timeliness (70.3 [SD 21.9] v. 66.2 [SD 25.6]). Many information items of interest were more likely to be included in the database-generated summaries. The database system created summaries faster and was preferred by housestaff. Dictated summaries in the baseline and randomized studies were similar, which indicated that the control group was not substantially different from the baseline cohort. INTERPRETATION: The database system significantly increased the likelihood that a discharge summary was created. Housestaff preferred the database system for summary generation. Physicians thought that the quality of summaries generated by the 2 methods was similar. The use of computer databases to create hospital discharge summaries is promising and merits further study and refinement.  (+info)

(2/2362) Record linkage as a research tool for office-based medical care.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the feasibility of linking records to study health services and health outcomes for primary care patients. DESIGN: A cohort of patients from the Family Medicine Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital was assembled from the clinic's billing records. Their health numbers were linked to the Ontario Hospital Discharge Database. The pattern of hospital admission rates was investigated using International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes for primary discharge diagnosis. A pilot case-control study of risk factor management for stroke was nested in the cohort. SETTING: Family medicine clinic based in a teaching hospital. PARTICIPANTS: A cohort of 19,654 Family Medicine Centre patients seen at least once since 1991. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Admission rates by age, sex, and diagnosis. Numbers of admissions for individual patients, time to readmission, and length of stay. Odds ratios for admission for cerebrovascular disease. RESULTS: The 19,654 patients in the cohort had 14,299 discharges from Ontario hospitals in the 4 years from 1992 to 1995, including 3832 discharges following childbirth. Some patients had many discharges: 4816 people accounted for the 10,467 admissions excluding childbirth. Excluding transfers between institutions, there were 4975 readmissions to hospital during the 4 years, 1392 (28%) of them within 28 days of previous discharge. Admissions for mental disorders accounted for the greatest number of days in hospital. The pilot study of risk factor management suggested that acetylsalicylic acid therapy might not be effective for elderly primary care patients with atrial fibrillation and that calcium channel blocker therapy might be less effective than other therapies for preventing cerebrovascular disease in hypertensive primary care patients. CONCLUSIONS: Record linkage combined with data collection by chart review or interview is a useful method for studying the effectiveness of medical care in Canada and might suggest interesting hypotheses for further investigation.  (+info)

(3/2362) 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)

(4/2362) Agreement between drug treatment data and a discharge diagnosis of diabetes mellitus in the elderly.

The authors examined agreement between drug treatment data and a discharge diagnosis of diabetes, considered whether agreement was modified by demographic variables and measures of comorbidity, and evaluated construct validity through consideration of relations with subsequent mortality. The study sample comprised 81,700 residents of New Jersey aged 65-99 years who had prescription drug coverage either through Medicaid or that state's Pharmacy Assistance for the Aged and Disabled program and had at least one hospitalization between July 1, 1989, and June 30, 1991. In this population, 16.4% filled a prescription for insulin or an oral hypoglycemic agent during the 120 days before admission, and 16.3% had a discharge diagnosis of diabetes. Overall agreement between these two indicators was modest (kappa = 0.67, 95% confidence interval 0.66-0.67) and was weaker in those aged 85 years and above (kappa = 0.58, 95% confidence interval 0.56-0.60), those in nursing homes (kappa = 0.42, 95% confidence interval 0.39-0.44), and those with a high level of comorbidity (modified Charlson index > or =5; kappa = 0.59, 95% confidence interval 0.56-0.62). Presence of a diagnosis of diabetes was associated with an apparent 24% reduction in the risk of death during the study interval (p<0.001), while prior treatment for diabetes had little relation to mortality (p = 0.15). These paradoxical associations with mortality and the lower agreement between discharge diagnoses and drug treatments associated with older age, nursing home residence, and comorbidity suggest limitations in the use of claims data to identify diabetes in the elderly.  (+info)

(5/2362) Feasibility of direct discharge from the coronary/intermediate care unit after acute myocardial infarction.

OBJECTIVES: This investigation was designed to determine the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of direct discharge from the coronary/intermediate care unit (CICU) in 497 consecutive patients with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI). BACKGROUND: Although patients with an AMI are traditionally treated in the CICU followed by a period on the medical ward, the latter phase can likely be incorporated within the CICU. METHODS: All patients were considered for direct discharge from the CICU with appropriate patient education. The 6-week postdischarge course was evaluated using a structured questionnaire by a telephone interview. RESULTS: There were 497 patients (men = 353; women = 144; age 63.5 +/- 0.6 years) in the study, with 29 in-hospital deaths and a further 11 deaths occurring within 6 weeks of discharge. The mode length of CICU stay was 4.0 days (mean 5.1 +/- 0.2 days): 1 to 2 (12%), 3 (19%), 4 (21%), 5 (14%), 6 to 7 (19%) and > or = 7 (15%) days, respectively with 87.2% discharged home directly. Of the 425 patients surveyed, 119 (28.0%) indicated that they had made unscheduled return visits (URV) to a hospital or physician's office: 10.6% to an emergency room, 9.4% to a physician's office and 8.0% readmitted to a hospital. Of these URV, only 14.3% occurred within 48 h of discharge. Compared to historical controls, the present management strategy resulted in a cost savings of Cdn. $4,044.01 per patient. CONCLUSIONS: Direct discharge from CICU is a feasible and safe strategy for the majority of patients that results in considerable savings.  (+info)

(6/2362) The risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome following infection with Campylobacter jejuni.

To estimate the incidence of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) following Campylobacter jejuni infection (CI) we studied three populations where outbreaks of CI had occurred involving an estimated 8000 cases. No case of GBS was detected in the 6 months following the outbreaks in the local populations. The point estimate for the risk of GBS following CI estimated in this study was 0 in 8000 (95% confidence interval 0-3).  (+info)

(7/2362) Comparative hospital databases: value for management and quality.

OBJECTIVES: To establish an accurate and reliable comparative database of discharge abstracts and to appraise its value for assessments of quality of care. DESIGN: Retrospective review of case notes by trained research abstractors and comparison with matched information as routinely collected by the hospitals' own information systems. SETTING: Three district general hospitals and two major London teaching hospitals. PATIENTS: The database included 3905 medical and surgical cases and 2082 obstetric cases from 1990 and 1991. MAIN MEASURES: Accessibility of case notes; measures of reliability between reviewers and of validity of case note content; application of high level quality indicators. RESULTS: The existing hospital systems extracted insufficient detail from case notes to conduct clinical comparative analyses for medical and surgical cases. The research abstractors at least doubled the diagnostic codes extracted. Interabstractor agreement of about 70% was obtained for primary diagnosis and assignment to diagnosis related group. These data were sufficient to create a comparative database and apply high level quality indicators designed to flag topics for further study. For obstetric-specific indicators the rates were comparable for abstractors and the hospital information systems, which in each case was a departmentally based system (SMMIS) producing more detailed and accessible data. CONCLUSIONS: Current methods of extracting and coding diagnostic and procedural data from case notes in this sample of hospitals is unsatisfactory: notes were difficult to access and recording is unacceptably incomplete. IMPLICATIONS: Improvements as piloted in this project, are readily available should the NHS, hospital managers, and clinicians see the value of these data in their clinical and managerial activities.  (+info)

(8/2362) Need to measure outcome after discharge in surgical audit.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the accuracy of outcome data on appendicectomy routinely collected as part of a surgical audit and to investigate outcome in the non-audited period after discharge. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of audit data recorded by the Medical Data Index (MDI) computer system for all patients undergoing emergency appendicectomy in one year; subsequent analysis of their hospital notes and notes held by their general practitioners for patients identified by a questionnaire who had consulted their general practitioner for a wound complication. SETTING: One district general hospital with four consultant general surgeons serving a population of 250,000. PATIENTS: 230 patients undergoing emergency appendicectomy during 1989. MAIN MEASURES: Comparison of postoperative complications recorded in hospital notes with those recorded by the MDI system and with those recorded by patients' general practitioners after discharge. RESULTS: Of the 230 patients, 29 (13%) had a postoperative complication recorded in their hospital notes, but only 14 (6%) patients had these recorded by the MDI system. 189 (82%) of the patients completed the outcome questionnaire after discharge. The number of wound infections as recorded by the MDI system, the hospital notes, and notes held by targeted patients' general practitioners were three (1%), eight (3%), and 18 (8%) respectively. None of 12 readmissions with complications identified by the hospital notes were identified by the MDI system. CONCLUSIONS: Accurate audit of postoperative complications must be extended to the period after discharge. Computerised audit systems must be able to relate readmissions to specific previous admissions.  (+info)