Patients returning to same hospital more likely to survive

Washington, June 18 (IANS) Patients with complications after major surgery are 26 percent more likely to survive if they return to the hospital where they had their operation compared to those admitted to a different hospital, shows a study.

The study involving over nine million patients was published in the journal The Lancet.

“Our results suggest that maintaining continuity of care when readmissions occur is a more important predictor of survival than other established surgical quality measures such as hospital procedure volume and needs to be considered in the trade-offs when choosing a hospital for surgery,” said lead author Benjamin Brooke from University of Utah School of Medicine.

Brooke and his colleagues examined data from more than 94,40,503 Medicare beneficiaries in the USA between January 2001 and November 2011, who underwent 12 common high-risk operations.

They used different statistical models to investigate the association between readmission destination and risk of death within 90 days of the procedure.

The researchers found that patients readmitted to the same hospital were 26 percent less likely to die within 90 days than those admitted to a different hospital.

When confounding was controlled with instrumental variable analysis, patients returning to the index hospital were eight percent less likely to die than those returning to a different hospital.

“These results have important implications for existing selective referral and centre of excellence programmes. If patients need to travel long distances to receive care, every effort should be made to ensure that the post-surgical patient is readmitted to the hospital where they had surgery.”

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