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Associations between use of the hospitalist model and quality of care and outcomes of older patients hospitalized for heart failure

This study sought to examine the associations of hospitalist and cardiologist care of patients with heart failure with outcomes and adherence to quality measures. The hospitalist model of inpatient care has grown nationally, but its associations with quality of care and outcomes of patients hospitalized with heart failure are not known. We analyzed data from the Get With the Guidelines-Heart Failure registry linked to Medicare claims for 2005 through 2008. For each hospital, we calculated the percentage of heart failure hospitalizations for which a hospitalist was the attending physician. We examined outcomes and care quality for patients stratified by rates of hospitalist use. Using multivariable models, we estimated associations between hospital-level use of hospitalists and cardiologists and 30-day risk-adjusted outcomes and adherence to measures of quality care. The analysis included 31,505 Medicare beneficiaries in 166 hospitals. Across hospitals, the use of hospitalists varied from 0% to 83%. After multivariable adjustment, a 10% increase in the use of hospitalists was associated with a slight increase in mortality (risk ratio: 1.03; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.00 to 1.06) and decrease in length of stay (0.09 days; 95% CI: 0.02 to 0.16). There was no association with 30-day readmission. Increased use of hospitalists in hospitals with high use of cardiologists was associated with improved defect-free adherence to a composite of heart failure performance measures (risk ratio: 1.03; 95% CI: 1.01 to 1.06). Hospitalist care varied significantly across hospitals for heart failure admissions and was not associated with improved 30-day outcomes. Comanagement by hospitalists and cardiologists may help to improve adherence to some quality measures, but it remains unclear what care model improves 30-day clinical outcomes.

Authors: Kociol RD; Hammill BG; Fonarow GC; Heidenreich PA; Go AS; Peterson ED; Curtis LH; Hernandez AF

JACC Heart Fail. 2013 Oct;1(5):445-53. Epub 2013-09-11.

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