Changes in Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program Affect Poor and Low Poverty Hospitals Differently

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Karen Joynt Maddox, MD, MPHAssistant Professor of MedicineWashington University Brown School of Social Work

Dr. Joynt Maddox

Karen Joynt Maddox, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Washington University Brown School of Social Work 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program has been controversial, in part because until 2019 it did not take social risk into account when judging hospitals’ performance. In the 21st Century Cures Act, Congress required that CMS change the program to judge hospitals only against other hospitals in their “peer group” based on the proportion of their patients who are poor. As a result, starting with fiscal year 2019, the HRRP divides hospitals into five peer groups and then assesses performance and assigns penalties.  Continue reading

Surgical Outcomes Found to be Better at ‘Brand Name’ than Affiliate Cancer Hospitals

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Daniel J. Boffa, MDAssociate Professor of Thoracic SurgeryYale School of Medicine

Dr. Boffa

Daniel J. Boffa, MD
Associate Professor of Thoracic Surgery
Yale School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prominent cancer hospitals have been sharing their brands with smaller hospitals in the community.  We conducted a series of nationally representative surveys and found that a significant proportion of the U.S. public assumes that the safety of care is the same at all hospitals that share the same respected brand.  In an effort to determine if safety was in fact the same, we examined complex surgical procedures in the Medicare database.

We compared the chance of dying within 90 days of surgery between top-ranked hospitals, and the affiliate hospitals that share their brands.  When taking into account differences in patient age, health, and type of procedure, Medicare patients were 1.4 times more likely to die after surgery at the affiliate hospitals, compared to those having surgery at the top-ranked cancer hospitals.

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Study finds Value-Based Payment Program Did Not Harm African-American Patients In Terms of Mortality. 

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Teryl K. Nuckols, MDVice Chair, Clinical ResearchDirector, Division of General Internal MedicineCedars-Sinai Medical Center 

Dr. Nuckols

Teryl K. Nuckols, MD
Vice Chair, Clinical Research
Director, Division of General Internal Medicine
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: Healthcare policymakers have long worried that value-based payment programs unfairly penalize hospitals treating many African-American patients, which could worsen health outcomes for this group.

For example, policy experts have suspected that the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program unevenly punishes institutions caring for more vulnerable populations, including racial minorities. They’ve also feared that hospitals might be incentivized to not give patients the care they need to avoid readmissions.

The study Investigators wanted to determine whether death rates following discharges increased among African-American and white patients 65 years and older after the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program started.

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Not All Skilled Nursing Patients Seen Promptly By Physicians After Transfer From Hospital

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kira L. Ryskina  MD MSAssistant Professor Of MedicineDivision of General Internal MedicinePerelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Ryskina

Kira L. Ryskina  MD MS
Assistant Professor Of Medicine
Division of General Internal Medicine
Perelman School of Medicine,
University of Pennsylvania 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Post-acute care in skilled nursing facilities (SNF or sometimes called subacute rehab) is a very common discharge destination after a hospital stay. Patients discharged to these facilities represent more clinically complex and high-need patients than patients discharged home.

We wanted to understand how soon after discharge from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility are patients seen by a physician. We found that first visits by a physician or advanced practitioner (a nurse practitioner or physician assistant) for initial medical assessment occurred within four days of SNF admission in 71.5 percent of the stays. However, there was considerable variation in days to first visit at the regional, facility, and patient levels.

One in five initial physician visits occurred more than 4 days after admission to skilled nursing facilities.  In 10.4 percent of stays there was no physician or advanced practitioner visit. Much of the variability in visit timing had to do with SNF characteristics and geography compared to patient clinical or demographic characteristics. Patients who did not receive a physician visit had nearly double the rates of readmissions or deaths compared to patients who were seen.  Continue reading

Flexible Medical Resident Duty Hours Did Not Pose Risks To Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeffrey H. Silber, MD, PhDDirector, Center for Outcomes ResearchNancy Abramson Wolfson Endowed Chair in Health Services ResearchChildren's Hospital of PhiladelphiaProfessor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology and Critical CarePerelman School of Medicine, University of PennsylvaniaProfessor of Health Care ManagementWharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Silber

Jeffrey H. Silber, MD, PhD
Director, Center for Outcomes Research
Nancy Abramson Wolfson Endowed Chair
Health Services Research
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology and Critical Care
Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Professor of Health Care Management
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This was a year-long randomized trial that involved 63 internal medicine residency programs from around the US.  In 2015-2016, about half of the programs were randomized to follow the existing rules about resident duty hours that included restrictions on the lengths of shifts and the rest time required between shifts (the standard arm of the trial) and the other half of the programs didn’t have those shift length or rest period rules (the flexible arm of the trial).  We measured what happened to the patients cared for in those programs (the safety study), and other studies examined how much sleep the residents received, and how alert they were at the end of shifts (the sleep study), and previously we published on the educational outcomes of the interns.

To measure the impact on patient outcomes when allowing program directors the ability to use a flexible shift length for their interns, we compared patient outcomes after the flexible regimen went into place to outcomes the year before in the same program. We did the same comparison for the standard arm. Then we compared the difference between these comparisons. Comparing before and after the implementation of the trial within the same program allowed us to be more confident that a particularly strong or weak program, or a program with especially sick or healthy patients, would not throw off the results of the study. The trial was designed to determine, with 95% confidence, if the flexible arm did not do more than 1% worse than the standard arm. If this were true for the flexible arm, we could say the flexible regimen was “non-inferior” to the standard regimen.

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Low-Value Health Care: Measuring Hospital-Acquired Complications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mr. Tim Badgery-Parker ELS, BSc(Hons), MBiostatResearch Fellow,Value in Health Care Division,Menzies Centre for Health Policy

Mr. Badgery-Parker

Mr. Tim Badgery-Parker ELS, BSc(Hons), MBiostat
Research Fellow,Value in Health Care Division
Menzies Centre for Health Policy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This is part of a large program of work at the Menzies Centre for Health Policy on low-value care in the Australian health system. We have previously published rates of low-value care in public hospitals in Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, and a report on rates in the Australian private health insurance population is due for publication shortly. We have also done similar analyses for other Australian state health systems.

This particular paper extends the basic measurement work to focus on what we call the ‘cascade’ effects. That is, looking beyond how much low-value care occurs to examine the consequence for patients and the health system of providing these low-value procedures.

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Accredited Hospitals Linked to Better Rectal Cancer Surgical Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexis G. Antunez MS University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Alexis G. Antunez

Alexis G. Antunez MS
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer is implementing a National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), aiming to improve and standardize the quality of rectal cancer care in the United States. While this is a commendable goal, previous accreditation programs in other specialties have faced controversy around their uncertain impact on access to care. Furthermore, it is well established that the quality of rectal cancer care is associated with patients’ socioeconomic position. So, the NAPRC could have the unintended consequence of widening disparities and limiting access to high quality rectal cancer care for certain patient populations.  Continue reading

Not All Hospital Readmissions Are Preventable but READI Protocol Can Assist in Some Cases

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marianne Weiss DNSc RN READI study Principal Investigator Professor of Nursing and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare / Sister Rosalie Klein Professor of Women’s Health Marquette University College of Nursing Milwaukee Wi, 53201-1881

Dr. Weiss

Marianne Weiss DNSc RN
READI study Principal Investigator
Professor of Nursing and
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare / Sister Rosalie Klein Professor of Women’s Health
Marquette University College of Nursing
Milwaukee Wi, 53201-1881

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our team of researchers has been studying the association of patient readiness for discharge and readmission for several years. We have previously documented that patients who had ‘low readiness’ on our Readiness for Hospital Discharge Scale were more likely to be readmitted. In this study we added structured protocols for discharge readiness assessment and nurse actions to usual discharge care practices to determine the optimal protocol configuration to achieve improved post-discharge utilization outcomes.

In our primary analysis that included patients from a broad range of patient diagnoses, we did not find a significant effect on readmission from adding any of the discharge readiness assessment protocols. The patient sample came from Magnet hospitals, known for high quality care, and the average all-cause readmission rates were low (11.3%).

In patients discharged from high-readmission units (>11.3%), one of the protocols was effective in reducing the likelihood of readmission. In this protocol, the nurse obtained the patients self-report of discharge readiness to inform the nurse’s discharge readiness assessment and actions in finalizing preparations for discharge. This patient-informed discharge readiness assessment protocol produced a nearly 2 percentage point reduction in readmissions. Not unexpectedly, in lower readmission settings, we did not see a reduction in readmission; not all readmissions are preventable.

In the last phase of study, we informed nurses of a cut-off score for ‘low readiness’ and added a prescription for nurse action only in cases of ‘low readiness’; this addition to the protocol added burden to the nurses’ daily work and eliminated the beneficial effects, perhaps because it limited the nurse’s attention to only a subset of patients. 

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Primary Care Doctor Visit After Discharge Reduced Hospital Readmission Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Dawn Wiest, 7-day pledge after hospital admissionDawn Wiest, PhD
Director, Action Research & Evaluation
Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Understanding the role of care transitions after hospitalization in reducing avoidable readmissions, the Camden Coalition launched the 7-Day Pledge in 2014 in partnership with primary care practices in Camden, NJ to address patient and provider barriers to timely post-discharge primary care follow-up. To evaluate whether our program was associated with lower hospital readmissions, we used all-payer hospital claims data from five regional health systems. We compared readmissions for patients who had a primary care follow-up within seven days with similar patients who had a later or no follow-up using propensity score matching.

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Serious Mental Illness Raises Risk of 30 Day Readmission

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hayley D. Germack PHD, MHS, RN Assistant Professor, School of Nursing University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Germack

Hayley D. Germack PHD, MHS, RN
Assistant Professor, School of Nursing
University of Pittsburgh

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: As nurse scientists, we repeatedly witness the impact of having a serious mental illness (i.e. schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression disorder) on patients’ inpatient and discharge experience. As health services researchers, we know how to make use of large secondary data to illuminate our firsthand observations.

In 2016, Dr. Hanrahan and colleagues (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163834316301347) published findings of a secondary data analysis from a large urban hospital system that found 1.5 to 2.4 greater odds of readmission for patients with an  serious mental illness diagnosis compared to those without. We decided to make use of the AHRQ’s HCUP National Readmissions Database to illuminate the magnitude of this relationship using nationally representative data. We found that even after controlling for clinical, demographic, and hospital factors, that patients with SMI have nearly 2 times greater odds of 30-day readmission.  Continue reading

Study Finds Medicare Readmissions Penalties Have Not Increased Mortality from Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Teryl K. Nuckols, MD Vice Chair, Clinical Research Director, Division of General Internal Medicine Cedars Sinai Los Angeles, California

Dr. Nuckols

Teryl K. Nuckols, MD
Vice Chair, Clinical Research
Director, Division of General Internal Medicine
Cedars Sinai
Los Angeles, California

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) penalizes hospitals with increased 30-day readmission rates among seniors admitted with heart failure (HF).  Heart failure readmission rates declined markedly following the implementation of this policy. Two facts have raised concerns about whether the HRRP might have also inadvertently increased 30-day heart failure mortality rates.

First, before the policy was implemented, hospitals with higher heart failure readmission rates had lower 30-day HF mortality rates, suggesting that readmissions are often necessary and beneficial in this population. Second, 30-day HF mortality rose nationally after the HRRP was implemented, and the timing of the increase has suggested a possible link to the policy.

Are hospitals turning patients away, putting them at risk of death, or is the increase in heart failure mortality just a coincidence? To answer this question, we compared trends in 30-day HF mortality rates between penalized hospitals and non-penalized hospitals because 30-day HF readmissions declined much more at hospitals subject to penalties under this policy.

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Untreated Hearing Loss: Higher Health Care Costs, More ER Visits and Readmissions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nicholas S. Reed, AuD Assistant Professor | Department of Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery Core Faculty  | Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Nicholas Reed AuD

Nicholas S. Reed, AuD
Assistant Professor | Department of Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery
Core Faculty | Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This study was a true team effort. It was funded by AARP and AARP Services, INC and the research was a collaboration of representatives from Johns Hopkins University, OptumLabs, University of California – San Francisco, and AARP Services, INC. Given all of the resent research on downstream effects of hearing loss on important health outcomes such as cognitive decline, falls, and dementia, the aim was to explore how persons with hearing loss interacted with the healthcare system in terms of cost and utilization.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Over a 10 year period, untreated hearing loss (hearing aid users were excluded from this study as they are difficult to capture in the claims database) was associated with higher healthcare spending and utilization. Specifically, over 10 years, persons with untreated hearing loss spent 46.5% more, on average, on healthcare (to the tune of approximately $22000 more) than those without evidence of hearing loss. Furthermore, persons with untreated hearing loss had 44% and 17% higher risk for 30-day readmission and emergency department visit, respectively.

Similar relationships were seen across other measures where persons with untreated hearing loss were more likely to be hospitalized and spent longer in the hospital compared to those without evidence of hearing loss. Continue reading

Medical Record Doesn’t Always Reflect Medications Patient Actually Taking

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Portable Information station, nurse, computer, hand wipes, 9th floor, Virginia Mason Hospital, Seattle, Washington, USA" by Wonderlane is licensed under CC BY 2.0Timothy Ryan PhD

This work was performed while Dr. Ryan was at
Precera Biosciences, 393 Nichol Mill Lane
Frankluin, Tennessee 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The study design is quite simple.  We measured medication concentrations in patients, then compared empirically detected medications with prescribed medications in each patient’s medical record.  We used this information to estimate how many prescribed medications patients had actually taken and how often they took medications that were not in their medical record.  The later comparison is a particularly novel measure of the number and types of medications taken by patients unbeknownst to healthcare providers who use the medical record as a guide to patient care.

Further, the test was performed in blood and not urine, so we could obtain an estimate of how often patients were in range for medications that they did take – at least for medications where the therapeutic range for blood concentrations are well established.

In sum, we found that patients do not take all of their medications, the medical records are not an accurate indicator of the medications that patients ingest, and that even when taken as prescribed, medications are often out of therapeutic range.  The majority of out-of-range medications were present at subtherapeutic levels.  Continue reading

Nose-Picking Can Spread Pneumonia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"still picking her nose" by quinn norton is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Victoria Connor 

Clinical Research Fellow
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Royal Liverpool Hospital 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Pneumococcus is a bacteria which is very common and causes lots of different infections (pneumococcal disease). Infections can be non-invasive or invasive. Non-invasive diseases include middle ear infections, sinusitis and bronchitis. Invasive infections including chest infection (pneumonia), infections of brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and blood infections (sepsis).

Invasive pneumococcal infections is a major cause of death around the world and in the UK, is estimated that is responsible for 1.3 million deaths in children under 5 annually. Pneumococcal disease causes more deaths in low and middle income countries where approximately 90% of pneumonia deaths occur.

Pneumococcus also is commonly carried (colonises) the nose/throat of children and adults. This colonisation is important to understand as it is the main source of the bacterial transmission and is also the first step in pneumococcal infections.

The understanding of transmission of pneumococcus is currently poor. It is generally thought that transmission occurs through breathing in the respiratory sections of someone carrying pneumococcus in their nose which are infected with pneumococcus.

However more recently studies especially in mice have shown that there may be a role of hands or other objects as vehicles for the transmission of pneumococcus.

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Mandated Audit-and-Feedback Did Not Improve Hospital Hand Hygiene

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Hand Washing" by Anthony Albright is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0Dr. Daniel J. Livorsi, MD
Assistant Professor
INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST
University of Iowa

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: One of the Joint Commission’s standards is that hospitals audit and provide feedback on hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers. Audit-and-feedback is therefore commonly practiced in US hospitals, but the effective design and delivery of this intervention is poorly defined, particularly in relation to hand hygiene improvement.

We studied how 8 hospitals had implemented audit-and-feedback for hand hygiene improvement. We found that hospitals were encountering several barriers in their implementation of audit-and-feedback. Audit data on hand hygiene compliance was challenging to collect and was frequently questioned. The feedback of audit results did not motivate positive change. 

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Errors in Dementia Drugs Surprising Common in Parkinson’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Allison W. Willis, MD, MS Assistant Professor of Neurology Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Dr. Willis

Allison W. Willis, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute
Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study was motivated by my own experiences as a neurologist-neuroscientist.

I care for Parkinson disease patients, and over the year, have had numerous instances in which a person was taking a medication that could interact with their Parkinson disease medications, or could worsen their PD symptoms.
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High Burden of Trauma and Avoidable Surgical Deaths in US Prisons

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tanya L. Zakrison, MHSc MD FRCSC FACS MPH Associate Professor of Surgery University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Dr. Zakrison

Tanya L. Zakrison, MHSc MD FRCSC FACS MPH
Associate Professor of Surgery
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Over 2 million people in the United States are incarcerated, the highest rate in the entire world.  To date no national statistics on surgical outcomes have been reported in this vulnerable patient population.  We examined 301 medical examiner’s reports from prisoner deaths in Miami-Dade County.  Excluding those with confounding medical conditions such as cirrhosis and cancer, we still found that one in five deaths were being attributed to trauma and reversible surgical diseases.   

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What Happens When Pay for Performance Incentives Are Withdrawn?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof-Bruce Guthrie Head of Population Health Sciences Division Professor of Primary Care Medicine and Honorary Consultant NHS Fife

Prof. Guthrie

Prof. Bruce Guthrie PhD
Head of Population Health Sciences Division
Professor of Primary Care Medicine and Honorary Consultant NHS Fife 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The UK Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF)) is a primary care pay for performance programme (P4P) implemented in 2004. QOF was and still is the largest healthcare P4P programme in the world, initially having ~150 indicators and accounting for ~20% of practice income. QOF has been reduced in scale and scope over time, with 40 indicators retired in 2014. It was abolished in Scotland in 2016 and is due to be further reformed in England. There is some evidence that P4P (and QOF itself) is associated with modest improvements in quality when introduced, but little evidence about what happens when financial incentives are withdrawn.

Our study examined what happened when incentives were withdrawn in 2014 for 12 indicators where there is good before and after data. There were immediate reductions in documented quality of care, which were similar in size to improvements observed when incentives were introduced. These reductions were small to modest (~10%) for indicators relating to care that is already systematically delivered (eg routine diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease) and large for indicators which has historically been less systematically delivered (eg lifestyle advice).

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Physician Burnout Linked to Increased Patient Safety Risks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Maria Panagioti| Senior Research Fellow Division of Population Health, Health Services Research & Primary Care University of Manchester Manchester

Dr. Panagioti

Dr Maria Panagioti, Senior Research Fellow
Division of Population Health
Health Services Research & Primary Care
University of Manchester
Manchester

 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Several studies have shown that the demanding work environment has alarming consequences on the well-being of physicians. Over 50 percent of physicians experience significant signs of burnout across medical specialities. However, the consequences of burnout on patient care are less well-known.

This is the largest meta-analysis to date which pooled data from 43,000 doctors to examine the relationship between burnout in physicians and patient safety, professionalism and patient satisfaction.

We found that burnout in physicians is associated with two times increased risk for patient safety incidents, reduced professionalism and lower patient satisfaction. Particularly in residents and early career physicians, burnout was associated with almost 4 times increased risk for reduced professionalism.  Continue reading

Patients Who Discharge From Hospital Against Medical Advice Have Double Rate of Readmission

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Mamas Mamas (BM BCh, MA, DPhil, MRCP) Professor of Cardiology at Keele University and an Honorary Professor of Cardiology at the University of Manchester

Prof. Mamas

Professor Mamas Mamas (BM BCh, MA, DPhil, MRCP)
Professor of Cardiology at Keele University and an
Honorary Professor of Cardiology at the University of Manchester

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Discharge against medical advice occurs in 1 to 2% of all medical admissions but little / no data around how frequently this occurs in the context of PCI or the outcomes associated with such a course of action. We undertook this study to understand both how commonly discharge against medical advice occurs, the types of patients it occurs in and outcomes in terms of both readmission rates and causes of readmisison.   Continue reading

Parent Skin Cleansing Prior to Infant Contact in NICU Important to Reduce Staph Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Bart Infant” by Bart Everson is licensed under CC BY 2.0Gwen M. Westerling, BSN, RN, CIC
Infection Preventionist
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The setting of this study is a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with 106 beds.

In 2016, an increase in Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) was noted in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) caused by Staphylococcus aureus (SA) through diligent Infection Prevention Surveillance. When we reviewed the literature we found the SA is a common skin colonizer and can be a problem for neonates with immature skin and immune systems.

Staphylococcus aureus is easily transmitted through direct contact with skin, the contaminated hands of health care workers, the environment and equipment. We also found one study that listed skin to skin care as a risk factor for acquisition of SA. Before we saw the increase in infections some process changes occurred in our NICU that included increased skin to skin care, meaningful touch between neonates and parents, and two person staff care. We hypothesized that the process changes were exposing neonates to increased amounts of Staphylococcus aureus and contributing to the increase in infections.

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What Causes Failures in Personal Protective Equipment Use in Hospitals?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sarah L. Krein, PhD, RN Research Career Scientist VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Ann Arbor, MI 

Sarah L. Krein, PhD, RN
Research Career Scientist
VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
Ann Arbor, MI

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We conducted this study to better understand the challenges faced by health care personnel when trying to follow transmission based precaution practices while providing care for hospitalized patients.  We already know from other studies that there are breaches in practice but our team was interested in better understanding why and how those breaches (or failures) occur so we can develop better strategies to ensure the safety of patients and health care personnel.

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Physician MOC Status Linked To Better Diabetes Performance Measure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Bradley Gray, PhD
Senior Health Services Researcher
American Board of Internal Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This study is part of an ongoing effort to improve and validate ABIM’s MOC process through the use of real data that is ongoing here at ABIM.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: The paper examines the association between MOC status and a set of HEDIS process quality measures for internists twenty years past the time they initially certified. An example of one HEDIS performance measure we looked at was percentage of patients with diabetes that had twice annual HbA1c testing. The key findings of the paper are that physicians who maintained their certification had better scores on 5 of 6 HEDIS performance measures than similar physicians who did not maintain their certification.

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For Your Surgeon, Do You Want Younger Hands or More Experience?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Untitled” by Marcin Wichary is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD
Assistant professor
Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCL
Los Angeles, CA 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We studied whether patients’ mortality rate differ based on age and sex of surgeons who performed surgical procedures. Using a nationally representative data of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65-99 years who underwent one of 20 major non-elective surgeries, we found that patients treated by older surgeons have lower mortality than those cared for by younger surgeons, whereas there was no difference in patient mortality between male and female surgeons. When we studied age and sex together, we found that female surgeons at their 50s had the lowest patient mortality across all groups.

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Racial Disparities in Post-Procedure ED Visits and Hospitalizations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Hillary-J-Mull

Hillary J. Mull, PhD, MPP
Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research
Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System
Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine
Boston, Massachusetts

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Little is known about outpatient procedures that can be considered invasive but are not conducted in a surgical operating room. These procedures are largely neglected by quality or patient safety surveillance programs, yet they are increasingly performed as technology improves and the U.S. population gets older.

We assessed the rate of invasive procedures across five specialties, urology, podiatry, cardiology, interventional radiology and gastroenterology in the Veterans Health Administration between fiscal years 2012 and 2015. Our analysis included examining the rates of post procedure emergency department visits and hospitalizations within 14 days and the key patient, procedure or facility characteristics associated with these outcomes. We found varying rates of post procedure ED visits and hospitalizations across the specialties with podiatry accounting for a high volume of invasive outpatient care but the lowest rate of postoperative utilization (1.8%); in contrast, few of the procedures were in interventional radiology, but the postoperative utilization rate was the highest at 4.7%. In a series of logistic regression models predicting post procedure healthcare utilization for each specialty, we observed significantly higher odds of post procedural outcomes for African American patients compared to white patients.

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