Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Mapping the Quality of Care From Hospitals and Doctors

The Alfred Hospital, Commercial Road, Melbourn...

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From the 28 June 2011 Wall Street blog item by Katherine Hobson

How’s the diabetes treatment in Wisconsin? Or the access to after-hours medical care in California?

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has rolled out a new online directory** of 224 health-care quality reports that compare local physicians and hospitals.

The idea is that consumers can get localized, quantitative information on measures such as how often patients in a certain medical practice receive their recommended screening tests or how long mothers typically spend in a given hospital after a cesarean section. The specific measures will vary by report.

Note the emphasis on “quantitative.” These reports, 197 of which cover specific states, all use performance data based on nationally recognized standards on quality and cost. All are freely available. The more subjective picture offered by sites such as RateMDs.com or Yelp aren’t on the map….

…The reports mainly focus on quality; the cost of health-care services is tougher to measure, says Painter. For example, are you looking for the price that would be charged to a patient, the cost breakdown of certain elements of care or something else? Some reports do include cost data; we’ve written separately about sites that tackle the cost issue…

**For example, go to  Comparing Health Care Quality: A National Directory to compare hospital data in Ohio

  • Click on the state of Ohio in the interactive map, then click on View these (Ohio) resources
  • Click on View Report to the left of  the Ohio Department of Health (one higher in the list)
  • Use the options to select counties, hospitals, locations to find out information about one or more hospitals

You can also select one or more quality measures for one or more hospitals (as infection prevention, heart failure, knee
surgery)

Related Resources (from the Comparing section of  the Tulane University Health Management LibGuide***)


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A more general resource for health information and much, much more
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LibGuides are free topic specific guides to Web sites and books by library specialists.

Currently  one can “Search and explore 168,085 guides by 32,658 librarians at 2269 libraries worldwide!”

Library types include academic, public, and K-12.
Have a topic or subject in mind? There is most likely a related library guide in the LibGuide collection.Related articles

Related Articles (for Mapping the Quality of Care from Hospitals and Docs)

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories, health care, Librarian Resources, Public Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Report: Hospital Errors May Be Far More Common Than Suspected

New tracking system uncovers 10 times as many medical mistakes

From the April 7 HealthDay news item

THURSDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) — A new method for identifying medical errors contends that as many as 90 percent of hospital mistakes are overlooked.

The actual error rate is 10 times greater than previously thought, despite a recent focus on reducing error rates and improving patient safety, a new study suggests.

“The more you look for errors, the more you find,” said lead researcher Dr. David C. Classen, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah.

“There is a large opportunity for improvement, despite all the work that’s been done,” he said. “And we need better measurement systems to assess how we are doing in patient safety.”

One factor in the high number of errors is that hospital patients tend to be sicker than they were years ago, Classen noted. With the advent of outpatient treatment, “the healthier patients are no longer in hospitals,” he said…..

The report is published in the April issue of Health Affairs.
The abstract is here.
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April 9, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Blacks Readmitted to Hospital More Than Whites: Study

Blacks Readmitted to Hospital More Than Whites: Study
Return rates even higher for hospitals serving mostly minority patients, research shows

HealthDay news image

From the February 15, 2011 Health Day news item

TUESDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) — After leaving the hospital for treatment of three common conditions, older black people are more likely to be readmitted within 30 days than older white people, a new study finds.

Overall, older blacks have 13 percent greater odds of being readmitted to the hospital, recent research suggests, while patients treated at hospitals that primarily serve minority populations have 23 percent greater odds of readmission within 30 days.

“There are significant racial disparities in readmission rates in this country,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Karen Joynt, a health policy fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

“We found that both race and site of care mattered. The next step is to find out why this disparity exists,” she said.

And, she noted, no matter what the race, about 20 percent of people discharged from the hospital are readmitted within 30 days, which suggests that there are gaps in care that need to be identified and addressed.

“Hospital discharge is a really vulnerable time. Going home from the hospital often requires medication changes, diet changes and lifestyle changes. Even in the best case scenario, one in five is being readmitted,” she said.

Because readmissions are so common, reducing the rate of readmission is a focus in health-care policy. Previous studies have suggested that racial disparities may play a role in readmission rates, but the evidence was inconclusive, according to background information in Joynt’s study.

Using national Medicare data that included more than 3 million hospital discharges for heart attack, congestive heart failure and pneumonia, the researchers compared the rate of readmissions for blacks and for whites. To conform with other research, the researchers considered any non-black patients as white, which means that Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans were placed in the white category for this study.

The researchers also looked at the data by hospital, and whether or not a hospital was primarily a minority-serving hospital.

Of the 3 million plus discharges, 276,681 (8.7 percent) were for black patients, and 2,886,330 (91.3 percent) were for white patients. About 40 percent of the black patients and 6 percent of white patients received care at hospitals that primarily served minorities.

The average age of the patients was mid-70s to early 80s, depending on the condition. There were slightly more women included in this study than men.

Overall, readmission rates were 24.8 percent for blacks and 22.6 percent for whites, which means black patients have 13 percent greater odds of readmission within 30 days after discharge, according to the study.

Among those who had been admitted for heart attack, black patients from minority-serving hospitals had the highest readmission rates — 26.4 percent, according to the study. That translated to 35 percent greater odds of readmission for this group.

The results of the study are published in the Feb. 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.***

Joynt said this study wasn’t able to tease out the reasons that these disparities exist, but said that less access to transitional care may play a role. She said that other research has shown that good follow-up care after a hospital discharge can make a difference in readmission rates.

“The biggest take-away from this study is that currently, hospital readmission is a major problem in the U.S., and we need better solutions to help prevent readmission,” said the co-author of an editorial in the same issue of the journal, Dr. Adrian Hernandez, an associate professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C.

“This was an excellent study that raises important questions. How can we get a process in place that strengthens the support received after discharge? How do we get resources that will enable hospitals to reach beyond their doors to provide services and support to vulnerable populations?” he said.

SOURCES: Karen Joynt, M.D., M.P.H., health policy fellow, Harvard School of Public Health, and cardiology fellow, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston; Adrian Hernandez, M.D., M.H.S., associate professor, medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C.; Feb. 16, 2011, Journal of the American Medical Association***

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February 17, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Elsevier/MEDai enhances real-time clinical surveillance system for hospitals

a hospital room (Denmark, 2005)

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Elsevier/MEDai enhances real-time clinical surveillance system for hospitals

From the February 15, 2011 Eureka news alert

(Elsevier) Elsevier/MEDai, a leading provider of advanced clinical analytic health-care solutions, announced today the launch of the latest version of Pinpoint Review, its real-time, clinical surveillance system for hospitals. The new version will feature an expanded set of clinical watch triggers, expanded core measure alerts and three new predictions: ICU Admission Prediction, Length of Stay Prediction and Mortality Prediction.

ORLANDO, FL – 14 February, 2011 – Elsevier / MEDai, a leading provider of advanced clinical analytic healthcare solutions, announced today the launch of the latest version of Pinpoint Review®, its real-time, clinical surveillance system for hospitals. The new version will feature an expanded set of clinical watch triggers, expanded core measure alerts and three new predictions: ICU Admission Prediction, Length of Stay Prediction and Mortality Prediction.

“Hospitals are facing an enormous amount of pressure to provide better, safer care with fewer complications while managing costs,” said Swati Abbott, President of Elsevier / MEDai. “Elsevier / MEDai has enhanced its predictive analytics product to continuously give hospitals and clinicians the most up-to-date tools they need to lower mortality rates and healthcare costs, provide a higher quality of care, increase patient safety and maintain regulatory compliance.”

Pinpoint Review generates predictions for acute-care patients, focusing on the likelihood of a patient developing a complication, contracting a healthcare-acquired infection or being readmitted within 30 days of discharge, while patients are still in the hospital and there is time to adjust care to avoid a negative outcome.

With the expansion of Pinpoint Review’s new predictions, care givers are able to enhance their efforts in proactive care management. Pinpoint Review unlocks the power of clinical and administrative hospital data by utilizing predictive technologies to turn data into actionable information. Empowering today’s hospitals with the ability to predict whether or not a patient will be admitted to the ICU or higher intensity care unit, a predicted length of hospital stay or patient expiration goes a long way in driving down the cost of care and brings a proactive approach to quality improvement.

Pinpoint Review addresses the increasing pressure on hospitals from entities such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations to deliver a higher quality of care and fewer medical errors. Pinpoint Review alerts care providers to patients at risk for developing several of the conditions that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) no longer reimburse.

February 15, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Better Methods Needed to Measure Hospital Quality: Experts

Better Methods Needed to Measure Hospital Quality: Experts
Using patient death rates to assess care found to be unreliable in Massachusetts study

HealthDay news image

From the December 23, 2010 Health Day news item by Robert Preidt

THURSDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) — Hospital-wide patient death rates may not be a reliable way to assess a facility’s quality of care, a new study indicates.

Researchers in Boston compared four measures of hospital patient death rates. They found that the measures yielded both higher- and lower-than-expected rates for the same Massachusetts hospitals for the same year.

The findings add to an ongoing debate about the value of using death rates as a measure of health-care quality, said lead author Dr. David M. Shahian, a Harvard Medical School professor of surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and colleagues.

“It’s troubling that four different methods for calculating hospital mortality rates as a measure of quality should yield such different results. Measurement theory — not to mention plain common sense — suggests that there is a problem,” Shahian said in an MGH news release….

….

The researchers told the state they could not recommend any of the four vendors’ tools.

“But the results should not be interpreted as an indictment of any particular technique,” study co-author Sharon-Lise T. Normand, Harvard Medical School professor of health care policy (biostatistics) and a professor of biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health, said in the news release.

Instead, Normand said, the findings “call into question the concept of measurement of hospital-wide mortality, as four different methods yielded four different results. Thus, this may not be a good way to assess hospital quality.”

The study results are published in the Dec. 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, news release, Dec. 22, 2010

 

Related MedlinePlus Pages

Related AHRQ Web pages (US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

 

 

 

 


December 27, 2010 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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