Estimating Hospital-Related Deaths Due to Medical Error

MedicalResearch.com Interview wth:

Kevin Kavanagh, MD, MS Board Chairman of Health Watch USA

Dr. Kevin Kavanagh

Kevin Kavanagh, MD, MS
Board Chairman of Health Watch USA

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

Response: The genesis of our study was a desire to respond to a keynote speech at a major national patient safety conference which seemed to mitigate the problem of preventable hospital mortality in the United States.

Our main finding is that there is credible evidence indicating that the preventable hospital mortality rate is more than 160,000 per year. When one considers the events which were not captured, and that we did not count diagnostic errors or post-discharge presentation of events, this number can be projected to approximate or exceed 200,000.

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Study Validates Good Quality Care Provided By Foreign-Trained Doctors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD Research Associate at Department of Health Policy and Management Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa

Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD
Research Associate at Department of Health Policy and Management
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  

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

Response: Prior evidence has been mixed as to whether or not patient outcomes
differ between U.S. and foreign medical graduates.

However, previous studies used small sample sizes or data from a small number of states.
Therefore, it was largely unknown how international medical graduates
perform compared with US medical graduates.

To answer this question, we analyzed a nationally representative
sample of Medicare beneficiaries admitted to hospitals with a medical
condition in 2011-2014. Our sample included approximately 1.2 million
hospitalizations treated by 40,000 physicians. After adjusting for
severity of illness of patients and hospitals (we compared physicians
within the same hospital), we found that patient treated by
international medical graduates had lower mortality than patients
cared for by US medical graduates (adjusted 30-day mortality rate
11.2% vs 11.6%, p<0.001). We observed no difference in readmissions,
whereas costs of care was slightly higher for international medical
graduates.

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Best Case/Worst Case Framework Helps Surgeons Communicate With Frail Seriously Ill Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Margaret L Schwarze, MD, MPP Associate Professor Division of Vascular Surgery University of Wisconsin

Dr. Margaret Schwarze

Margaret L Schwarze, MD, MPP
Associate Professor
Division of Vascular Surgery
University of Wisconsin

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

Response: Surgery can have life-altering consequences for frail older adults, yet many undergo an operation during the last year of life. Surgeons commonly rely on informed consent to disclose risks of discrete complications; however, this information is challenging for patients to interpret with respect to their goals and values.

Our research group developed a communication framework, called Best Case/Worst Case, to change how surgeons communicate with patients facing serious illness.  Surgeons use the framework to describe the best, worst, and most likely scenarios to present a choice between valid treatment alternatives and help patients imagine how they might experience a range of possible treatment outcomes.

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Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Increased on Weekends

MedicalResearch.com Interview with;
Dr. Amirhossein Moaddab
Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas

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

Response: Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States maternal mortality ratio is three to four times higher than that of most other developed nations. Previous studies from the demonstrated a possible association between weekend hospital admissions and higher rates of mortality and poor health outcomes.

We investigated differences in maternal and fetal death ratios on weekends compared to weekdays and during different months of the year. In addition we investigated the presence of any medical and obstetrics complications in women who gave birth to a live child and in their offspring by day of delivery.

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Hospital Readmissions Fell After Penalties Instituted But Then Plateaued

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Nihar R. Desai, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Yale School of Medicine
Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation
Yale New Haven Health System

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

Response: Reducing rates of readmissions after hospitalization has been a major focus for patients, providers, payers, and policymakers because they reflect, at least partially, the quality of care and care transitions, and account for substantial costs. The Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) was enacted under Section 3025 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in March 2010 and imposed financial penalties beginning in October 2012 for hospitals with higher than expected readmissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), congestive heart failure (HF), and pneumonia among their fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries. In recent years, readmission rates have fallen nationally, and for both target (AMI, HF, pneumonia) and non-target conditions.

We were interested in determining whether the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) associated with different changes in readmission rates for targeted and non-targeted conditions for penalized vs non-penalized hospitals?

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Patients Treated By Female Doctors Have Better Outcomes and Fewer Readmissions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD Department of Health Policy and Management Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa

Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD
Department of Health Policy and Management
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health,
Department of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts 

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

Response: We analyzed a 20% sample of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with a medical condition in 2011-2014, and found that patients treated by female doctors have lower mortality and readmission rates than those cared for by male doctors.

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Relationship Between Physician Burnout and Quality of Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michelle P. Salyers Ph.D.</strong> Professor, Psychology Director, Clinical Psychology Program Director, ACT Center of Indiana Affiliated Scientist, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, IN

Dr. Salyers

Michelle P. Salyers Ph.D.
Professor, Psychology
Director, Clinical Psychology Program
Director, ACT Center of Indiana
Affiliated Scientist, Regenstrief Institute, Inc.
Indiana University-Purdue University
Indianapolis, IN

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

Response: Professional burnout among healthcare providers is receiving more attention in research and in public press. There have long been speculations that the level of burnout may be related to quality of care provided, and many studies have been done linking provider burnout with different aspects of quality of care.

This study brings together that literature, to summarize and quantify the link between professional burnout in healthcare provider and the quality of care they provide. We were able to combine data from 82 independent samples, across health care disciplines, settings, and types of quality indicators. We found small to medium relationships between provider burnout and indicators of quality of care.

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Recommended Medical Handoff Strategies Remain Underutilized

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Charlie M. Wray, DO, MS Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine University of California, San Francisco | Department of Medicine San Francisco VA Medical Center

Dr. Charlie Wray

Charlie M. Wray, DO, MS
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine
University of California, San Francisco Department of Medicine
San Francisco VA Medical Center

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

Response: Since the establishment of residency duty hour regulations in 2010, which subsequently lead to increased discontinuity of inpatient care and more resident shift work, educators and researchers have attempted to establish which shift handoff technique(s) or strategies work best.

National organizations, such as the ACGME, AHRQ, and the Joint Commission have made specific recommendations that are considered “best practice”. In our study, using an annual national survey given to Internal Medicine Program Directors, we examined the degree of implementation of these recommended handoff strategies and the proportion of Program Director satisfaction with each of the respective strategies.

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End of Resident Rotation May Be Risky Time For Hospitalized Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Joshua L Denson MD Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine University of Colorado School of Medicine

Dr. Joshua Denson

Joshua L Denson MD
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
University of Colorado School of Medicine

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

Response: Miscommunication during physician transition in care has been associated with adverse patient events and medical errors; however, an understudied topic is the transition in care that occurs each month when resident physicians switch clinical rotations, also called an end-of-rotation transition. During this handoff, hospitalized patients (up to 10-20) are handed over to an oncoming physician who has never met the patients. We sought to investigate if this type of transition was associated with worse patient outcomes, specifically mortality.

On July 1, 2011, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) duty-hour regulations limited first-year resident physicians (interns) to 16 continuous hours of work. Although these rules do not appear to have affected overall patient safety outcomes, they have been associated with an increase in shift-to-shift handoffs among training physicians. Given this, we wanted to study how they might impact patient outcomes surrounding end-of-rotation transitions in care.

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Patients Prefer Online Portal To Receive Skin Biopsy Results

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

sophia-akhiyatSophia Akhiyat
M.D. Candidate, Class of 2017
The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
METEOR Fellowship

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

Response: Our study was inspired by one of Choudhry et al,1 in which patients’ preferences for skin biopsy result disclosure was surveyed at melanoma clinics affiliated with several academic institutions. We sought to broaden participant inclusion criteria by evaluating patients’ preferences at a general dermatology clinic at an academic center.

Our findings support that the highest ranked patient-preferred method for receiving skin biopsy results was through an online portal. Patients also reported that the most important factors when selecting a modality for communication were the amount of information given and time available to discuss results. We also observed a relationship between a younger patient age range and online portal experience as well as a preference for biopsy notification via online portal.

1Choudhry A, Hong J, Chong K, et al. Patients’ Preferences for Biopsy Result Notification in an Era of Electronic Messaging Methods. JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(5):513-521.

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Delayed Epinephrine Linked To Worse Survival From In-Patient Cardiac Arrest

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rohan Khera, MD

Cardiology Fellow, T32 Clinical-Investigator Pathway
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, TX

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

Response: Nearly 200 thousand people have an in-hospital cardiac arrest in the US each year. Of these, the vast majority have a non-shockable initial rhythm – either pulseless electric activity (PEA) or asystole. The survival of this type of arrest remains poor at around 12-14%. Moreover, even after accounting for differences in case mix, there is a wide variation in survival across hospitals – and this serves as a potential avenue for targeting quality improvement strategies at poor performing hospitals.

Recent data suggest that a shorter time from the onset of cardiac arrest to the first dose of epinephrine is independently associated with higher survival. Against this background of wide hospital variation in cardiac arrest survival, and patient-level data suggesting an association between time to epinephrine and patient survival, we wanted to assess (A) if there were differences in time to epinephrine administration across hospitals, and (B) if a hospital’s rate of timely epinephrine use was associated with its cardiac arrest survival rate. Within Get With The Guidelines-Resuscitation, we identified nearly 104-thousand adult patients at 548 hospitals with an in-hospital cardiac arrest attributable to a non-shockable rhythms. delays to epinephrine,

We found that (a) proportion of cardiac arrests with delayed epinephrine markedly across hospitals, ranging from no arrests with delay (or 0%) to more than half of arrests at a hospital (54%).

There was an inverse correlation between a hospital’s rate of delayed epinephrine administration and its risk-standardized rate of survival to discharge and survival with functional recovery – compared to a low-performing hospitals, survival and recovery was 20% higher at hospitals that performed best on timely epinephrine use.

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Poor Ratings Linked to Hospitals in Distressed Neighborhoods

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jianhui Hu, PhD

Center for Health Policy & Health Services Research
Henry Ford Health System
Detroit, Michigan

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

Response: In July of 2016, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) released its first-ever hospital Star Rating for consumers to use to compare hospital quality. Since earlier studies have shown that hospitals serving lower-socioeconomic-status (SES) communities have lower scores on measures like readmission rate that are a part of the Star Rating system, we wanted to find out whether a similar relationship might be found between community-level SES and the Star Ratings. Our study used a recently released “stress” ranking of 150 most populated U.S cities and explored possible associations with the hospital Star Ratings. This “stress” ranking was a composite score of 27 individual metrics measuring a number of characteristics of the cities, such as job security, unemployment rate, housing affordability, poverty, mental health, physical activity, health condition, crime rate, etc.

Our study found that less-stressed cities had average higher hospital Star Ratings (and more-stressed cities had lower average hospital Star Ratings). Cities such as Detroit and Newark are good examples of those with high “stress” and relatively low hospital Star Ratings, and cities like Madison and Sioux Falls of those with relatively low stress and relatively high hospital Star Ratings. Our correlational analysis indicated that around 20% of the difference in the Star Ratings can be explained by characteristics of the cities in which hospitals were located.

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