MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Hoshijima: Our systematic review shows that weekend admission is associated with higher mortality compared with weekday admission.Subgroup analysis revealed that patients admitted during the weekend were at a higher risk of death than weekday admission in patients in 5 categories (patients who had stroke; cardiovascular disease; upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage; medical disease; mixed medical and surgical disease.)
MedicalResearch: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Hoshijima: That patients who had received an operation did not increased the mortality rate on weekends.
MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Hoshijima: To resolve this problem requires an understanding of the factors underlying the increased risk. It is reasonable to presume that efforts to keep the organizational structure of hospitals homogeneous during weekdays and weekends will likely have a favorable impact on patient outcomes. Such efforts may include maintaining the same number of health-care professionals and ensuring the same level of staffing seniority throughout the week.
However, it is not easy to resolve the weekend effect. Because everyone hopes to rest on the weekend.
MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Hoshijima: Unfortunately, in our meta-analysis, it is not entirely clear why weekend admissions were associated with an increased risk of dying, however, we were confident that the high mortality rate in hospitalized patients on weekends was not influenced by the type of admission. We think that future studies establishing causal associations between changes in hospital staff and mortality rate would be especially valuable.