Thursday, February 27, 2014

Effect of a home-based exercise program on functional recovery following rehabilitation after hip fracture: a randomized clinical trial.

Effect of a home-based exercise program on functional recovery following rehabilitation after hip fracture: a randomized clinical trial.
JAMA. 2014 Feb 19;311(7):700-8
Authors: Latham NK, Harris BA, Bean JF, Heeren T, Goodyear C, Zawacki S, Heislein DM, Mustafa J, Pardasaney P, Giorgetti M, Holt N, Goehring L, Jette AM

IMPORTANCE: For many older people, long-term functional limitations persist after a hip fracture.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a home exercise program improved function after formal hip fracture rehabilitation ended.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Randomized clinical trial conducted from September 2008 to October 2012 in the homes of 232 functionally limited older adults
INTERVENTIONS: The intervention group (n = 120) received functionally oriented exercises.The attention control group (n = 112) received in-home and telephone-based cardiovascular nutrition education.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Among patients who had completed standard rehabilitation after hip fracture, the use of a home-based functionally oriented exercise program resulted in modest improvement in physical function at 6 months after randomization. The clinical importance of these findings remains to be determined.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT00592813.

Read More

Treatment of venous thromboembolism.

Treatment of venous thromboembolism.
JAMA. 2014 Feb 19;311(7):717-28
Authors: Wells PS, Forgie MA, Rodger MA

IMPORTANCE: Venous thromboembolism (VTE), comprising deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), is a common, potentially lethal condition with acute morbidity.
OBJECTIVE: To review the etiology of VTE and the 3 phases of VTE treatment: acute (first 5-10 days), long-term (from end of acute treatment to 3-6 months), and extended (beyond 3-6 months).
EVIDENCE REVIEW: Cochrane reviews, meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials, as well as other clinical trials for topics not covered by the former, were reviewed. Literature searches using broad terms were used to find meta-analyses published in the last 15 years. The ninth edition of the American College of Chest Physicians Antithrombotic Therapy Guidelines was used to supplement the literature search. Guidelines from specialty organizations were consulted when relevant. The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health was searched for relevant cost-effectiveness studies. We also searched our own literature database of 8386 articles for relevant research.
FINDINGS: Low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) along with with vitamin K antagonists and the benefits and proven safety of ambulation have allowed for outpatient management of most cases of DVT in the acute phase. Development of new oral anticoagulants further simplifies acute-phase treatment and 2 oral agents can be used as monotherapy, avoiding the need for LMWH. Patients with PE can also be treated in the acute phase as outpatients, a decision dependent on prognosis and severity of PE. Thrombolysis is best reserved for severe VTE; inferior vena cava filters, ideally the retrievable variety, should be used when anticoagulation is contraindicated. In general, DVT and PE patients require 3 months of treatment with anticoagulants, with options including LMWH, vitamin K antagonists, or direct factor Xa or direct factor IIa inhibitors. After this time, decisions for further treatment are based on balancing the risk of VTE recurrence, determined by etiology of the VTE (transient risk factors, unprovoked or malignancy associated), against the risk of major hemorrhage from treatment. Better prediction tools for major hemorrhage are needed. Experience with new oral anticoagulants as acute, long-term, and extended therapy options is limited as yet, but as a class they appear to be safe and effective for all phases of treatment.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The mainstay of VTE treatment is anticoagulation, while interventions such as thrombolysis and inferior vena cava filters are reserved for limited circumstances. Multiple therapeutic modes and options exist for VTE treatment with small but nonetheless important differential effects to consider. Anticoagulants will probably always increase bleeding risk, necessitating tailored treatment strategies that must incorporate etiology, risk, benefit, cost, and patient preference. Although great progress has been made, further study to understand individual patient risks is needed to make ideal treatment decisions.

Read More

Monday, February 24, 2014

Twitter Journal Club #pcmjc

The Internet Medical Association has just started a Twitter based journal club. To follow the discussion and participate, use the hashtag #pcmjc.

The home for the journal club is

Friday, February 21, 2014

Preterm birth and random plasma insulin levels at birth and in early childhood.

Preterm birth and random plasma insulin levels at birth and in early childhood.
JAMA. 2014 Feb 12;311(6):587-96
Authors: Wang G, Divall S, Radovick S, Paige D, Ning Y, Chen Z, Ji Y, Hong X, Walker SO, Caruso D, Pearson C, Wang MC, Zuckerman B, Cheng TL, Wang X

IMPORTANCE: Although previous reports have linked preterm birth with insulin resistance in children and adults, it is not known whether altered insulin homeostasis is detectable at birth and tracks from birth through childhood.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether preterm birth is associated with elevated plasma insulin levels at birth and whether this association persists into early childhood.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A prospective birth cohort of 1358 children recruited at birth from 1998 to 2010 and followed-up with prospectively from 2005 to 2012 at the Boston Medical Center in Massachusetts.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Random plasma insulin levels were measured at 2 time points: at birth (cord blood) and in early childhood (venous blood). The median age was 1.4 years (interquartile range [IQR], 0.8-3.3) among 4 gestational age groups: full term (≥39 wk), early term (37-38 wk), late preterm (34-36 wk), and early preterm (<34 wk).
RESULTS: The geometric mean of insulin levels at birth were 9.2 µIU/mL (95% CI, 8.4-10.0) for full term; 10.3 µIU/mL (95% CI, 9.3-11.5) for early term; 13.2 µIU/mL (95% CI, 11.8-14.8) for late preterm; and 18.9 µIU/mL (95% CI, 16.6-21.4) for early preterm. In early childhood, these levels were 11.2 µIU/mL (95% CI, 10.3-12.0) for full term; 12.4 µIU/mL (95% CI, 11.3-13.6) for early term; 13.3 µIU/mL (95% CI, 11.9-14.8) for late preterm; and 14.6 µIU/mL (95% CI, 12.6-16.9) for early preterm. Insulin levels at birth were higher by 1.13-fold (95% CI, 0.97-1.28) for early term, 1.45-fold (95% CI, 1.25-1.65) for late preterm, and 2.05-fold (95% CI, 1.69-2.42) for early preterm than for those born full term. In early childhood, random plasma insulin levels were 1.12-fold (95% CI, 0.99-1.25) higher for early term, 1.19-fold (95% CI, 1.02-1.35) for late preterm, and 1.31-fold (95% CI, 1.10-1.52) for early preterm than those born full term. The association was attenuated after adjustment for postnatal weight gain and was not significant after adjustment for insulin levels at birth. Infants ranked in the top insulin tertile at birth were more likely to remain in the top tertile (41.2%) compared with children ranked in the lowest tertile (28.6%) in early childhood.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: There was an inverse association between gestational age and elevated plasma insulin levels at birth and in early childhood. The implications for future development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes warrant further investigation.

Read More

Risk of end-stage renal disease following live kidney donation.

Risk of end-stage renal disease following live kidney donation.
JAMA. 2014 Feb 12;311(6):579-86
Authors: Muzaale AD, Massie AB, Wang MC, Montgomery RA, McBride MA, Wainright JL, Segev DL

IMPORTANCE: Risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in kidney donors has been compared with risk faced by the general population, but the general population represents an unscreened, high-risk comparator. A comparison to similarly screened healthy nondonors would more properly estimate the sequelae of kidney donation.
OBJECTIVES: To compare the risk of ESRD in kidney donors with that of a healthy cohort of nondonors who are at equally low risk of renal disease and free of contraindications to live donation and to stratify these comparisons by patient demographics.
DESIGN, SETTINGS, AND PARTICIPANTS: A cohort of 96,217 kidney donors in the United States between April 1994 and November 2011 and a cohort of 20,024 participants of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) were linked to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data to ascertain development of ESRD, which was defined as the initiation of maintenance dialysis, placement on the waiting list, or receipt of a living or deceased donor kidney transplant, whichever was identified first. Maximum follow-up was 15.0 years; median follow-up was 7.6 years (interquartile range [IQR], 3.9-11.5 years) for kidney donors and 15.0 years (IQR, 13.7-15.0 years) for matched healthy nondonors.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Cumulative incidence and lifetime risk of ESRD.
RESULTS: Among live donors, with median follow-up of 7.6 years (maximum, 15.0), ESRD developed in 99 individuals in a mean (SD) of 8.6 (3.6) years after donation. Among matched healthy nondonors, with median follow-up of 15.0 years (maximum, 15.0), ESRD developed in 36 nondonors in 10.7 (3.2) years, drawn from 17 ESRD events in the unmatched healthy nondonor pool of 9364. Estimated risk of ESRD at 15 years after donation was 30.8 per 10,000 (95% CI, 24.3-38.5) in kidney donors and 3.9 per 10,000 (95% CI, 0.8-8.9) in their matched healthy nondonor counterparts (P < .001). This difference was observed in both black and white individuals, with an estimated risk of 74.7 per 10,000 black donors (95% CI, 47.8-105.8) vs 23.9 per 10,000 black nondonors (95% CI, 1.6-62.4; P < .001) and an estimated risk of 22.7 per 10,000 white donors (95% CI, 15.6-30.1) vs 0.0 white nondonors (P < .001). Estimated lifetime risk of ESRD was 90 per 10,000 donors, 326 per 10,000 unscreened nondonors (general population), and 14 per 10,000 healthy nondonors.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Compared with matched healthy nondonors, kidney donors had an increased risk of ESRD over a median of 7.6 years; however, the magnitude of the absolute risk increase was small. These findings may help inform discussions with persons considering live kidney donation.

Read More

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thirty-day hospital readmission following discharge

Thirty-day hospital readmission following discharge from postacute rehabilitation in fee-for-service Medicare patients.
JAMA. 2014 Feb 12;311(6):604-14
Authors: Ottenbacher KJ, Karmarkar A, Graham JE, Kuo YF, Deutsch A, Reistetter TA, Al Snih S, Granger CV

IMPORTANCE: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently identified 30-day readmission after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation facilities as a national quality indicator. Research is needed to determine the rates and factors related to readmission in this patient population.
OBJECTIVE: To determine 30-day readmission rates and factors related to readmission for patients receiving postacute inpatient rehabilitation.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENTS: Retrospective cohort study of records for 736,536 Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries (mean age, 78.0 [SD, 7.3] years) discharged from 1365 inpatient rehabilitation facilities to the community in 2006 through 2011. Sixty-three percent of patients were women, and 85.1% were non-Hispanic white.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Thirty-day readmission rates for the 6 largest diagnostic impairment categories receiving inpatient rehabilitation. These included stroke, lower extremity fracture, lower extremity joint replacement, debility, neurologic disorders, and brain dysfunction.
RESULTS: Mean rehabilitation length of stay was 12.4 (SD, 5.3) days. The overall 30-day readmission rate was 11.8% (95% CI, 11.7%-11.8%). Rates ranged from 5.8% (95% CI, 5.8%-5.9%) for patients with lower extremity joint replacement to 18.8% (95% CI, 18.8%-18.9%). for patients with debility. Rates were highest in men (13.0% [ 95% CI, 12.8%-13.1%], vs 11.0% [95% CI, 11.0%-11.1%] in women), non-Hispanic blacks (13.8% [95% CI, 13.5%-14.1%], vs 11.5% [95% CI, 11.5%-11.6%] in whites, 12.5% [95% CI, 12.1%-12.8%] in Hispanics, and 11.9% [95% CI, 11.4%-12.4%] in other races/ethnicities), beneficiaries with dual eligibility (15.1% [95% CI, 14.9%-15.4%], vs 11.1% [95% CI, 11.0%-11.2%] for no dual eligibility), and in patients with tier 1 comorbidities (25.6% [95% CI, 24.9%-26.3%], vs 18.9% [95% CI, 18.5%-19.3%] for tier 2, 15.1% [95% CI, 14.9%-15.3%] for tier 3, and 9.9% [95% CI, 9.9%-10.0%] for no tier comorbidities). Higher motor and cognitive functional status were associated with lower hospital readmission rates across the 6 impairment categories. Adjusted readmission rates by state ranged from 9.2% to 13.6%. Approximately 50% of patients rehospitalized within the 30-day period were readmitted within 11 days of discharge. Medicare Severity Diagnosis-Related Group codes for heart failure, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, septicemia, nutritional and metabolic disorders, esophagitis, gastroenteritis, and digestive disorders were common reasons for readmission.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Among postacute rehabilitation facilities providing services to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, 30-day readmission rates ranged from 5.8% to 18.8% for selected impairment groups. Further research is needed to understand the causes of readmission.

Read More

Monday, February 17, 2014

Conflicts of interest in approvals of additives to food determined to be generally recognized as safe: out of balance.

Conflicts of interest in approvals of additives to food determined to be generally recognized as safe: out of balance.
JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Dec 9-23;173(22):2032-6
Authors: Neltner TG, Alger HM, O'Reilly JT, Krimsky S, Bero LA, Maffini MV

IMPORTANCE: Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance allows food manufacturers to determine whether additives to food are "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS). Manufacturers are not required to notify the FDA of a GRAS determination, although in some instances they notify the agency. The individuals that companies select to make these determinations may have financial conflicts of interest.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the extent to which individuals selected by manufacturers to make GRAS determinations have conflicts of interest between their obligations to ensure that the use of the additive is safe and their financial relationships to the company. DESIGN Using conflict of interest criteria developed by a committee of the Institute of Medicine, we analyzed 451 GRAS notifications that were voluntarily submitted to the FDA between 1997 and 2012.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Number of GRAS notices submitted to the FDA; frequency of various types of relationships between decision maker and additive manufacturer; frequency of participation on GRAS panels by individuals; and number of GRAS safety determinations identified by the FDA that were not submitted to the agency.
RESULTS: For the 451 GRAS notifications, 22.4% of the safety assessments were made by an employee of an additive manufacturer, 13.3% by an employee of a consulting firm selected by the manufacturer, and 64.3% by an expert panel selected by either a consulting firm or the manufacturer. A standing expert panel selected by a third party made none of these safety assessments. The 290 panels that made GRAS determinations had an average of 3.5 members, with a maximum of 7. Ten individuals served on 27 or more panels; 1 individual served on 128 panels (44.1%). At least 1 of the 10 individuals with the most frequent service was a member of 225 panels (77.6%).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Between 1997 and 2012, financial conflicts of interest were ubiquitous in determinations that an additive to food was GRAS. The lack of independent review in GRAS determinations raises concerns about the integrity of the process and whether it ensures the safety of the food supply, particularly in instances where the manufacturer does not notify the FDA of the determination. The FDA should address these concerns.

Read More

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Health care-associated infections: a meta-analysis of costs and financial impact on the US health care system.

Health care-associated infections: a meta-analysis of costs and financial impact on the US health care system.

JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Dec 9-23;173(22):2039-46

Authors: Zimlichman E, Henderson D, Tamir O, Franz C, Song P, Yamin CK, Keohane C, Denham CR, Bates DW

IMPORTANCE: Health care-associated infections (HAIs) account for a large proportion of the harms caused by health care and are associated with high costs. Better evaluation of the costs of these infections could help providers and payers to justify investing in prevention.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate costs associated with the most significant and targetable HAIs.
DATA SOURCES: For estimation of attributable costs, we conducted a systematic review of the literature using PubMed for the years 1986 through April 2013. For HAI incidence estimates, we used the National Healthcare Safety Network of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
STUDY SELECTION: Studies performed outside the United States were excluded. Inclusion criteria included a robust method of comparison using a matched control group or an appropriate regression strategy, generalizable populations typical of inpatient wards and critical care units, methodologic consistency with CDC definitions, and soundness of handling economic outcomes.
DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Three review cycles were completed, with the final iteration carried out from July 2011 to April 2013. Selected publications underwent a secondary review by the research team.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Costs, inflated to 2012 US dollars.
RESULTS: Using Monte Carlo simulation, we generated point estimates and 95% CIs for attributable costs and length of hospital stay. On a per-case basis, central line-associated bloodstream infections were found to be the most costly HAIs at $45,814 (95% CI, $30,919-$65,245), followed by ventilator-associated pneumonia at $40,144 (95% CI, $36,286-$44,220), surgical site infections at $20,785 (95% CI, $18,902-$22,667), Clostridium difficile infection at $11,285 (95% CI, $9118-$13,574), and catheter-associated urinary tract infections at $896 (95% CI, $603-$1189). The total annual costs for the 5 major infections were $9.8 billion (95% CI, $8.3-$11.5 billion), with surgical site infections contributing the most to overall costs (33.7% of the total), followed by ventilator-associated pneumonia (31.6%), central line-associated bloodstream infections (18.9%), C difficile infections (15.4%), and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (<1%).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: While quality improvement initiatives have decreased HAI incidence and costs, much more remains to be done. As hospitals realize savings from prevention of these complications under payment reforms, they may be more likely to invest in such strategies.


Read More

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Health insurance status and the care of nursing home residents with advanced dementia.

Health insurance status and the care of nursing home residents with advanced dementia.

JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Dec 9-23;173(22):2047-53

Authors: Goldfeld KS, Grabowski DC, Caudry DJ, Mitchell SL

IMPORTANCE: Nursing home residents with advanced dementia commonly experience burdensome and costly hospitalizations that may not extend survival or improve the quality of life. Fragmentation in health care has contributed to poor coordination of care for acutely ill nursing home residents.
OBJECTIVE: To compare patterns of care and quality outcomes for nursing home residents with advanced dementia covered by managed care with those covered by traditional fee-for-service Medicare.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Choices, Attitudes, and Strategies for Care of Advanced Dementia at the End-of-Life (CASCADE) was a prospective cohort study including 22 nursing homes in the Boston, Massachusetts, area that monitored 323 nursing home residents for 18 months to better understand the course of advanced dementia at or near the end of life. Data from CASCADE and Medicare were linked to determine the health insurance status of study participants.
EXPOSURES: The health insurance status of the resident, either managed care or traditional fee for service.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The outcomes included survival, symptoms related to comfort, treatment of pain and dyspnea, presence of pressure ulcers, presence of a do-not-hospitalize order, treatment of pneumonia, hospital transfer (admission or emergency department visit) for an acute illness, hospice referral, primary care visits, and family satisfaction with care.
RESULTS: Residents enrolled in managed care (n = 133) were more likely to have do-not-hospitalize orders compared with those in traditional Medicare fee for service (n = 158) (63.7% vs 50.9%; adjusted odds ratio, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1-3.4), were less likely to be transferred to the hospital for acute illness (3.8% vs 15.7%; adjusted odds ratio, 0.2; 95% CI, 0.1-0.5), had more primary care visits per 90 days (mean [SD], 4.8 [2.6] vs 4.2 [5.0]; adjusted rate ratio, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1-1.6), and had more nurse practitioner visits (3.0 [2.1] vs 0.8 [2.6]; adjusted rate ratio, 3.0; 95% CI, 2.2-4.1). Survival, comfort, and other treatment outcomes did not differ significantly across groups. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Medicare managed-care programs may offer a promising approach to ensure that nursing homes are able to provide appropriate, less burdensome, and affordable care, especially at the end of life.


Read More

Growth in medicare expenditures for patients with acute myocardial infarction: a comparison of 1998 through 1999 and 2008.

Growth in medicare expenditures for patients with acute myocardial infarction: a comparison of 1998 through 1999 and 2008.

JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Dec 9-23;173(22):2055-61

Authors: Likosky DS, Zhou W, Malenka DJ, Borden WB, Nallamothu BK, Skinner JS

IMPORTANCE: Medicare expenditures continue to grow rapidly, but the reasons are uncertain.
OBJECTIVE: To compare expenditures from 1998 through 1999 and 2008 for Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction (AMI).
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional analysis of a random 20% sample of fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries admitted with AMI from 1998 through 1999 (n = 105,074) and a 100% sample for 2008 (n = 212,329).
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Per-beneficiary expenditures, standardized for price and adjusted for risk and inflation. Expenditures were measured across 4 periods: overall (index admission to 1 year), index (within the index admission), early (postindex admission to 30 days), and late (31-365 days). RESULTS Compared with the subjects from 1998 through 1999, those in 2008 were older and had more comorbidities but slightly less ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. Although there was a 19.2% decline in the rate of hospitalizations for AMI, overall expenditures per patient increased by 16.5% (absolute difference, $6094). Of the total risk-adjusted increase in expenditures, 25.6% occurred within 30 days (22.0% attributed to the index admission), and 74.4% happened 31 to 365 days after the index admission. Spending per beneficiary within 30 days increased by $1560 (7.5%), and spending between 31 and 365 days increased by $4535 (28.0%). Expenditures for skilled nursing facilities, hospice, home health agency, durable medical equipment, and outpatient care nearly doubled 31 to 365 days after admission. Mortality within 1 year declined from 36.0% in 1998 through 1999 to 31.7% in 2008; of the decline, 3.3% was in the 30 days following admission, and 1.0% was in days 31 to 365.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Between 1998 and 2008, Medicare expenditures per patient with an AMI substantially increased, with about three-fourths of the increase in expenditures occurring 31 to 365 days after the date of hospital admission. Although current bundled payment models may contain expenditures within 30 days of an AMI, they do not contain spending beyond 30 days.


Read More

Primary care closed claims experience of Massachusetts malpractice insurers.

Primary care closed claims experience of Massachusetts malpractice insurers.

JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Dec 9-23;173(22):2063-8

Authors: Schiff GD, Puopolo AL, Huben-Kearney A, Yu W, Keohane C, McDonough P, Ellis BR, Bates DW, Biondolillo M

IMPORTANCE: Despite prior focus on high-impact inpatient cases, there are increasing data and awareness that malpractice in the outpatient setting, particularly in primary care, is a leading contributor to malpractice risk and claims.
OBJECTIVE: To study patterns of primary care malpractice types, causes, and outcomes as part of a Massachusetts ambulatory malpractice risk and safety improvement project.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Retrospective review of pooled closed claims data of 2 malpractice carriers covering most Massachusetts physicians during a 5-year period (January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2009). Data were harmonized between the 2 insurers using a standardized taxonomy. Primary care practices in Massachusetts. All malpractice claims that involved primary care practices insured by the 2 largest insurers in the state were screened. A total of 551 claims from primary care practices were identified for the analysis.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Numbers and types of claims, including whether claims involved primary care physicians or practices; classification of alleged malpractice (eg, misdiagnosis or medication error); patient diagnosis; breakdown in care process; and claim outcome (dismissed, settled, verdict for plaintiff, or verdict for defendant).
RESULTS: During a 5-year period there were 7224 malpractice claims of which 551 (7.7%) were from primary care practices. Allegations were related to diagnosis in 397 (72.1%), medications in 68 (12.3%), other medical treatment in 41 (7.4%), communication in 15 (2.7%), patient rights in 11 (2.0%), and patient safety or security in 8 (1.5%). Leading diagnoses were cancer (n = 190), heart diseases (n = 43), blood vessel diseases (n = 27), infections (n = 22), and stroke (n = 16). Primary care cases were significantly more likely to be settled (35.2% vs 20.5%) or result in a verdict for the plaintiff (1.6% vs 0.9%) compared with non-general medical malpractice claims (P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In Massachusetts, most primary care claims filed are related to alleged misdiagnosis. Compared with malpractice allegations in other settings, primary care ambulatory claims appear to be more difficult to defend, with more cases settled or resulting in a verdict for the plaintiff.


Read More

The quality of supportive cancer care in the veterans affairs health system and targets for improvement.

The quality of supportive cancer care in the veterans affairs health system and targets for improvement.

JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Dec 9-23;173(22):2071-9

Authors: Walling AM, Tisnado D, Asch SM, Malin JM, Pantoja P, Dy SM, Ettner SL, Zisser AP, Schreibeis-Baum H, Lee M, Lorenz KA

IMPORTANCE: Characterizing the quality of supportive cancer care can guide quality improvement.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate nonhospice supportive cancer care comprehensively in a national sample of veterans.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Using a retrospective cohort study design, we measured evidence-based cancer care processes using previously validated indicators of care quality in patients with advanced cancer, addressing pain, nonpain symptoms, and information and care planning among 719 veterans with a 2008 Veterans Affairs Central Cancer Registry diagnosis of stage IV colorectal (37.0%), pancreatic (29.8%), or lung (33.2%) cancer.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: We abstracted medical records from diagnosis for 3 years or until death among eligible veterans (lived ≥ 30 days following diagnosis with ≥ 1 Veterans Affairs hospitalization or ≥ 2 Veterans Affairs outpatient visits). Each indicator identified a clinical scenario and an appropriate action. For each indicator for which a veteran was eligible, we determined whether appropriate care was provided. We also determined patient-level quality overall and by pain, nonpain symptoms, and information and care planning domains.
RESULTS: Most veterans were older (mean age, 66.2 years), male (97.2%), and white (74.3%). Eighty-five percent received both inpatient and outpatient care, and 92.5% died. Overall, the 719 veterans triggered a mean of 11.7 quality indicators (range, 1-22) and received a mean 49.5% of appropriate care. Notable gaps in care were that inpatient pain screening was common (96.5%) but lacking for outpatients (58.1%). With opioids, bowel prophylaxis occurred for only 52.2% of outpatients and 70.5% of inpatients. Few patients had a timely dyspnea evaluation (15.8%) or treatment (10.8%). Outpatient assessment of fatigue occurred for 31.3%. Of patients at high risk for diarrhea from chemotherapy, 24.2% were offered appropriate antidiarrheals. Only 17.7% of veterans had goals of care addressed in the month after a diagnosis of advanced cancer, and 63.7% had timely discussion of goals following intensive care unit admission. Most decedents (86.4%) were referred to palliative care or hospice before death. Single- vs multiple-fraction radiotherapy should have been considered in 28 veterans with bone metastasis, but none were offered this option.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: These care gaps reflect important targets for improving the patient and family experience of cancer care.


Read More

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Causes and patterns of readmissions in patients with common comorbidities: retrospective cohort study.

Causes and patterns of readmissions in patients with common comorbidities: retrospective cohort study.

BMJ. 2013;347:f7171

Authors: Donzé J, Lipsitz S, Bates DW, Schnipper JL

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the primary diagnoses and patterns of 30 day readmissions and potentially avoidable readmissions in medical patients with each of the most common comorbidities.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.
SETTING: Academic tertiary medical centre in Boston, 2009-10.
PARTICIPANTS: 10,731 consecutive adult discharges from a medical department.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary readmission diagnoses of readmissions within 30 days of discharge and potentially avoidable 30 day readmissions to the index hospital or two other hospitals in its network.
RESULTS: Among 10,731 discharges, 2398 (22.3%) were followed by a 30 day readmission, of which 858 (8.0%) were identified as potentially avoidable. Overall, infection, neoplasm, heart failure, gastrointestinal disorder, and liver disorder were the most frequent primary diagnoses of potentially avoidable readmissions. Almost all of the top five diagnoses of potentially avoidable readmissions for each comorbidity were possible direct or indirect complications of that comorbidity. In patients with a comorbidity of heart failure, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, atrial fibrillation, or chronic kidney disease, the most common diagnosis of potentially avoidable readmission was acute heart failure. Patients with neoplasm, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease had a higher risk of potentially avoidable readmissions than did those without those comorbidities.
CONCLUSIONS: The five most common primary diagnoses of potentially avoidable readmissions were usually possible complications of an underlying comorbidity. Post-discharge care should focus attention not just on the primary index admission diagnosis but also on the comorbidities patients have.


Read More

Monday, February 10, 2014

National trends in patient safety for four common conditions, 2005-2011.

National trends in patient safety for four common conditions, 2005-2011.

N Engl J Med. 2014 Jan 23;370(4):341-51

Authors: Wang Y, Eldridge N, Metersky ML, Verzier NR, Meehan TP, Pandolfi MM, Foody JM, Ho SY, Galusha D, Kliman RE, Sonnenfeld N, Krumholz HM, Battles J

BACKGROUND: Changes in adverse-event rates among Medicare patients with common medical conditions and conditions requiring surgery remain largely unknown.
METHODS: We used Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System data abstracted from medical records on 21 adverse events in patients hospitalized in the United States between 2005 and 2011 for acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, pneumonia, or conditions requiring surgery. We estimated trends in the rate of occurrence of adverse events for which patients were at risk, the proportion of patients with one or more adverse events, and the number of adverse events per 1000 hospitalizations.
RESULTS: The study included 61,523 patients hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction (19%), congestive heart failure (25%), pneumonia (30%), and conditions requiring surgery (27%). From 2005 through 2011, among patients with acute myocardial infarction, the rate of occurrence of adverse events declined from 5.0% to 3.7% (difference, 1.3 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.7 to 1.9), the proportion of patients with one or more adverse events declined from 26.0% to 19.4% (difference, 6.6 percentage points; 95% CI, 3.3 to 10.2), and the number of adverse events per 1000 hospitalizations declined from 401.9 to 262.2 (difference, 139.7; 95% CI, 90.6 to 189.0). Among patients with congestive heart failure, the rate of occurrence of adverse events declined from 3.7% to 2.7% (difference, 1.0 percentage points; 95% CI, 0.5 to 1.4), the proportion of patients with one or more adverse events declined from 17.5% to 14.2% (difference, 3.3 percentage points; 95% CI, 1.0 to 5.5), and the number of adverse events per 1000 hospitalizations declined from 235.2 to 166.9 (difference, 68.3; 95% CI, 39.9 to 96.7). Patients with pneumonia and those with conditions requiring surgery had no significant declines in adverse-event rates.
CONCLUSIONS: From 2005 through 2011, adverse-event rates declined substantially among patients hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction or congestive heart failure but not among those hospitalized for pneumonia or conditions requiring surgery. (Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and others.).


Read More