Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 17.08.2020 Interview with: Pinar Karaca-Mandic, PhD Professor, Finance Department Arthur Williams Jr. Professor of Healthcare Risk Management Academic Director, Medical Industry Leadership Institute (MILI) Carlson School of Management University of Minnesota What is the background for this study? Response: Several studies have highlighted disparities in COVID-19 infection rates and deaths. Less is known about disparities in hospitalizations. Reports from the Centers for Disease Control showed that in the nation overall, non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanics and American Indian Alaska Native persons have substantially higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalization. Our study extends this work by providing a state-by-state analysis of race/ethnic prevalence of cumulative COVID-19 hospitalizations and comparing this prevalence to ethnic/racial composition of each state’s population. Through our University of Minnesota Covid-19 hospitalization tracking project ( we collect data every day from state department of health websites, and we started collecting information on race/ethnicity breakdown of the hospitalizations as soon as states started reporting such data. During our study period, between April 30 and June 24, 12 states reported cumulative hospitalizations by race/ethnicity. By the end of our study, our data from these 12 states represented almost 50,000 hospitalizations.  (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 08.10.2019 Interview with: Marjaana Koponen, PhD Postdoctoral Researcher Kuopio Research Centre of Geriatric Care School of Pharmacy University of Eastern Finland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is known that antipsychotics are commonly used in the treatment of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, although their use has been linked to serious adverse events. In this study, we found that community dwellers with Alzheimer’s disease who initiated antipsychotic use accumulated more hospital days than non-initiators. This may partially reflect adverse effects and events of antipsychotic use. On the other hand, antipsychotic users accumulated more hospital days due to dementia, mental and behavioral disorders and their caregivers’ days off. Thus, another reason for a higher accumulation of hospital days is care burden and the difficulties in treating the most severe behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, Opiods, Pain Research, Primary Care / 26.07.2019 Interview with: Marisha Burden, MD, FACP, SFHM Associate Professor of Medicine Division Head of Hospital Medicine University of Colorado School of Medicine What is the background for this study? Response: The United States has seen a marked increase in opioid prescribing since 2000 and while there has been a slight decline in prescribing since 2012, prescription rates for opioids still remain much higher than in the late 1990’s and are considerably higher when compared to other countries. The US continues to see opioid-related complications such as overdoses, hospitalizations, and deaths. Hospitalized patients frequently experience pain and opioid medications are often the mainstay for treatment of pain. Studies have suggested that receipt of opioid prescriptions at the time of hospital discharge may increase risk for long-term use. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Opiods, University of Pittsburgh / 18.06.2019 Interview with: Dr. Julie Donohue, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management Vice Chair for Research Graduate School of Public Health University of Pittsburgh What is the background for this study? Response: The opioid epidemic is exacting a significant burden on families, communities and health systems across the U.S. Prescription and illicit opioids are responsible for the highest drug overdose mortality rates ever recorded. We know from previous studies that some surgical and medical patients who fill opioid prescriptions immediately after leaving the hospital go on to have chronic opioid use. Until our study, however, little was known about how and if those patients were being introduced to the opioids while in the hospital. My colleagues and I reviewed the electronic health records of 191,249 hospital admissions of patients who had not been prescribed opioids in the prior year and were admitted to a community or academic hospital in Pennsylvania between 2010 and 2014. Opioids were prescribed in 48% of the admissions, with those patients being given opioids for a little more than two-thirds of their hospital stay, on average. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues / 23.01.2019 Interview with: Bryan D. James, PhD Assistant Professor Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center Chicago, IL 60612 What is the background for this study? Response: It has long been reported by patients, their family members, and physicians that many older adults experience long-term declines in their memory and thinking abilities after hospitalization. Studies have recently begun to confirm these reports by following older patients for years after hospitalization and repeatedly testing their cognitive abilities. A number of questions have yet to be answered, including which types of hospitalizations are most strongly related to cognitive decline. In this study, we sought to answer whether going to the hospital for elective procedures was as risky to the cognitive health of older adults as urgent or emergency (that is, non-elective) hospitalizations. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Social Issues / 05.12.2018 Interview with: Dr. Rishi Wadhera, MD  Cardiology Fellow Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In the United States, an estimated half a million people are homeless on any given night. In recent years, policy efforts to improve the health of homeless individuals have intensified, but there is little large-scale, contemporary data on how these efforts have impacted patterns of acute illness in this vulnerable population. In this study, we examined trends, causes, and outcomes of hospitalizations among homeless individuals in three states – Massachusetts, Florida, and California – from 2007 to 2013. We found that hospitalization rates among homeless adults increased over this period of time. Strikingly, over one-half of these hospitalizations were for mental illness and substance use disorder. More broadly, homeless adults were hospitalized for a very different set of reasons compared with demographically similar non-homeless adults. In addition, homeless individuals had longer lengths of hospitalization but lower total costs per hospitalization. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Sleep Disorders, UCSF / 03.01.2018 Interview with: “Now I’m having contractions.” by Remus Pereni is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kathryn A. Lee, RN, CBSM, PhD Department of Family Health Care Nursing University of California at San Francisco San Francisco, California What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sleep deprivation can adversely affect health and wellbeing in any patient population. In pregnancy, adverse outcomes may include preterm birth, longer labor, cesarean birth, and depression. We found that women with high-risk pregnancies were sleep deprived even prior to hospitalization. Our sample averaged 29 weeks gestation, and half reported getting only between 5 and 6.5 hours of sleep at home before hospital admission. Our sleep hygiene intervention strategies gave them more control over the environment in their hospital room, and they self-reported significantly better sleep than controls. Interestingly, both groups increased their sleep time to almost 7 hours at night, on average, in the hospital before they were discharged home. (more…)
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Kidney Disease / 04.11.2017 Interview with: Charuhas Thakar, MD Professor Director of the Division of Nephrology Kidney CARE program University of Cincinnati What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Based on the plausibility that pre-dialysis health status can impact outcomes after initiation of chronic dialysis, we examined large national USRDS dataset with linked Medicare claims prior to dialysis. We found that 88% of patients who initiate dialysis experience at least one acute care hospitalization in two years preceding their dialysis start. If they do, that is associated with a significant increase in the risk of mortality at one year. We also examined effect of different types of hospitalizations in the pre-dialysis period – Cardiovascular, Infections, both, and neither of the two. There were statistical differences in the effect of type of hospitalization and post dialysis mortality. (more…)
AHRQ, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care / 22.07.2017 Interview with: Ruirui Sun, Service Fellow, Economist Center for Delivery, Organization and Markets Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality What is the background for this study? Response: Hospital inpatient care has experienced changes due to factors such as population growth, rising of prevalence of chronic disease and efforts to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations. We generated information from the National Hospital Utilization and Costs path on Fast Stats ( ), to present the trends on national hospitalization and costs from 2005 to 2014, as well as the most common diagnoses among inpatient stays over the 10-year period. What are the main findings?
  • Between 2005 and 2014, the inflation-adjusted mean cost per inpatient stay increased by 12.7 percent, from $9,500 to $10,900.
  • Inflation-adjusted cost per stay for patients covered by private insurance or Medicaid increased 16-18 percent. Cost per stay for Medicare-covered patients and the uninsured changed minimally.
  • The rate of inpatient stays decreased the most among patients in the highest income quartiles (15-20 percent decrease).
  • The proportion of Medicaid-covered inpatient stays increased by 15.7 percent, whereas the proportion paid by private insurance and that were uninsured decreased by 12.5 and 13.0 percent, respectively.
  • Mental health/substance use accounted for nearly 6 percent of all inpatient stays in 2014, up 20.1 percent from 2005.
  • Between 2005 and 2014, septicemia and osteoarthritis became two of the five most common reasons for inpatient stays. Septicemia hospital stays almost tripled.
  • Nonspecific chest pain and coronary atherosclerosis decreased by more than 60 percent from 2005 to 2014, falling off the list of top 10 reasons for hospitalization. 
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Lung Cancer / 28.09.2015 Interview with: Dr. Rebecca Prince MBBS Clinical Research Fellow and first author and Monika K. Krzyzanowska, MD MPH FRCPC Medical Oncologist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Associate Professor, Dept of Medicine and Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation, University of Toronto Senior Adjunct Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences Clinical Lead, Quality Care & Access, Systemic Treatment Program, Cancer Care Ontario Toronto, ON  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was inspired by our previous work using administrative data in which we found that a large proportion of patients receiving chemotherapy in routine practice were visiting the emergency department and being admitted to hospital. Our perception was that the frequency of these events was higher than expected but when we went to look what was expected, ie. how often were people ending up in hospital during treatment in clinic trials, this data was not readily available. This led us to perform a systematic review of the literature including a comparison of hospitalization rates between patients treated in clinical trials and patients in similar clinical scenarios treated in routine practice. We ended up focusing on metastatic lung cancer as that was one of the clinical scenarios where we were able to identify published data from both clinical trials and routine practice. The main finding of our study is that hospitalizations are very common during chemotherapy. We compared patients with metastatic lung cancer being treated in routine practice and clinical trials and found that that approximately half (51%) of patients treated in routine practice were hospitalized during chemotherapy, compared to 16% of trial patients. We also found that very few clinical trials reported this information which is routinely collected during the trial. (more…)
Author Interviews, PLoS, Toxin Research, University of Pennsylvania / 17.07.2015

Reynold A. Panettieri, Jr., M.D. Robert L. Mayock and David A. Cooper Professor of Medicine Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Division Director, Airways Biology Initiative Deputy Director, Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology Adjunct Professor, Wistar Institute Philadelphia, PA Interview with: Reynold A. Panettieri, Jr., M.D. Robert L. Mayock and David A. Cooper Professor of Medicine Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Division Director, Airways Biology Initiative Deputy Director, Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology Adjunct Professor, Wistar Institute Philadelphia, PA  19104-3413 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Panettieri: Over the past ten years in the US, unconventional gas and oil drilling (hydraulic fracturing) to generate natural gas has markedly increased.  In areas with hydraulic fracturing, there is a large increase in truck traffic, noise and potential air and water pollution.  Accordingly, residents may experience health consequences from such exposures.  We questioned whether proximity to active wells increases hospitalization rates in residents.  To address this question, we reviewed all hospitalizations in two counties in Pennsylvania, namely, Bradford and Susquehanna Counties, that experienced a meteoric increase in active wells.  In comparison, Wayne County, where there is a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, is demographically identical to Bradford and Susquehanna Counties and served as a control population.  Having examined the 25 most common reasons for admission to the hospital, we determined that cardiovascular hospitalizations as well as neurologic, dermatologic and cancer hospitalizations were associated with living closer to active wells.  These data represent some of the first studies to associate active well drilling with hospitalizations in the United States. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 12.01.2015 Interview with: Tomi  Ajetunmobi MSc and Bruce Whyte MSc Bespoke Specialist Services Information Services Division NHS National Services Scotland Edinburgh Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In developing countries, breast milk is considered the best source of nutrition for human infants, vital for child health and development. In developed counties, however, the message that ‘breast is best’ though widely accepted, is not practiced, particularly in the UK; debate continues on the role played by infant feeding in ensuring child health. The benefits of breastfeeding in terms of child health have been difficult to prove methodologically for ethical reasons. Moreover, most studies that have shown an association are often limited by the sample size, scope of the data and adjustment for a wide range of confounders particularly socioeconomic factors, which influence both infant feeding and child health outcomes. Using a range of linked administrative records comprising 502,948 singletons born in Scotland between 1997 and 2013 (representing approximately 70% of all Scottish births) , the study aimed to quantify the association between infant feeding patterns reported at a routine check-up 6 to 8 weeks after birth and hospital admission for childhood common illnesses. These included gastrointestinal, respiratory and urinary tract infections, otitis media, fever, asthma, eczema, diabetes and dental caries. The linkage made it possible to adjust for a wide range of confounders. Our findings were consistent with other studies and showed a greater risk of hospital admission amongst infants who were not breastfed particularly within six months of birth, even after adjustment for parental, delivery and infant health factors and features of the health care system. At least one in five hospitalisations for gastrointestinal and lower respiratory tract infections within six months of birth may have been averted (all other factors remaining constant) had all children in the cohort been exclusively breastfed 6 to 8 weeks after birth. The association was also evident beyond six months of birth. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Journal Clinical Oncology, MD Anderson / 21.10.2014 Interview with: Joanna-Grace M. Manzano, MD Assistant Professor Department of General Internal Medicine Maria E. Suarez-Almazor, MD, PhD Barnts Family Distinguished Professor Chief, Section of Rheumatology & Deputy Chair, Dept. of General  Internal Medicine UT MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Response: Our study established that unplanned hospitalization among elderly patients with GI cancer are very common – 93 events per 100-person years. Certain characteristics were found to have an increased risk for an unplanned hospitalization in our cohort, namely: older age, black race, advanced disease, higher comorbidity score, residing in poor neighborhoods and dual eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid. Esophageal and gastric cancer had the highest risk for unplanned hospitalization among all GI cancer types. Some of the observed reasons for unplanned hospitalization were potentially preventable and related to the patient’s comorbid illness. (more…)