inpatient hospital stay

AHRQ Stats: Hospital Care for Mental Health/Substance Use

The proportion of hospital stays for mental health/substance use increased by 20 percent from 2005 to 2014, representing nearly 6 percent of all hospital stays by 2014. (AHRQ, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #225: Trends in Hospital Inpatient Stays in the United States, 2005-2014.)

Today’s Headlines:

AHRQ Evidence Report Compares Risks and Benefits of Blood Clot Prevention Approaches

A new report from AHRQ compares the effectiveness of strategies to prevent venous thromboembolism in people getting hip or knee replacements and people being treated for hip fractures. Few studies have directly compared different types of blood thinners and mechanical interventions such as compression stockings or compression pumps. The report authors concluded that more research is needed to determine the most effective strategy for preventing harmful blood clots after hip or knee replacement and hip fracture surgeries. AHRQ has previously done other work in this area, including developing a guide to assist health care organizations  and a video and tools to help patients in preventing blood clots.

Study Estimates Costs of Zika Virus Epidemic in the United States

A Zika virus outbreak that infects 2 percent of the population of six southern states will cost approximately $2 billion in medical costs, lost productivity and other related costs, according to a new study partially funded by AHRQ. The article in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases examined the potential cost of various scenarios in the six states at the greatest risk of suffering a Zika epidemic — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Researchers forecast how overall direct medical costs, the proportion of direct medical costs expected to be covered by Medicaid, costs of lost productivity and total costs to society could vary with different virus attack rates and other factors. The study also identified the primary determinants of infection-related costs. This information could help guide future data collection and infection control efforts. Access the abstract.

Quality Reports Help Moms Prepare for Childbirth

Timely hospital quality information can help expectant mothers make decisions about labor and delivery and communicate more effectively with providers about their care preferences and concerns, according to the authors of a new AHRQ study. The authors used a randomized controlled trial to test the use of email and texts to deliver pertinent information timed to the specific week of the pregnancy. The biweekly messages directed the mothers to a website that provided videos and articles about quality information, tools to help them communicate with their providers, and ratings of local hospitals and pregnant women’s experiences at the hospitals. Participants became better informed about medical procedures, such as cesarean sections and episiotomies; discussed the information with family; and sought further information. They used the material to prepare for visits to doctors and midwives and to create a birth plan. The authors found that the timed dissemination of information was successful in getting the women to use it to inform and improve their care. The article, “Increasing the Use of Comparative Quality Information in Maternity Care: Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial,” was published in the journal Medical Care Research and Review. Access the abstract.

Patient Outcomes Better When Primary Care Practices Establish Patient-Centered Culture

Patients with diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease had better physical functioning and were less likely to report being depressed if treated at primary care practices with well-developed patient-centered cultures, according to new research partially funded by AHRQ. The study was published in the June issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Researchers surveyed 16 primary care practices and analyzed patient-reported outcomes of more than 4,300 patients. The researchers defined a patient-centered culture as one in which practice team members made greater efforts to engage patients while better coordinating their work with one another. They concluded that the growing movement toward more accountable care delivery and the increasing number of people with chronic illnesses underscored the need for primary care practices to engage patients in their own care. This research was funded as part of AHRQ’s Comparative Health System Performance Initiative, which studies how health care delivery systems promote evidence-based practices and patient-centered outcomes research in delivering care. Access the abstract.

New AHRQ Views Blog Post

Featured Case Study: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Uses AHRQ Survey To Promote Patient Safety

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital uses AHRQ’s Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture to obtain employee feedback on ways to improve medical care and safety for the approximately 8,000 patients who receive care each year. Based on the survey feedback, the Memphis-based hospital launched a hospitalwide initiative this year to improve handoffs, starting with shift changes. Access the impact case study.