Intensity of medical care in internal medicine: impact on outcomes from a trend analysis over six years

  • Walter Spagnolli Internal Medicine Department, Santa Chiara Hospital, Trento Local Healthcare Trust, Trento, Italy.
  • Dimitri Peterlana Internal Medicine Department, Santa Chiara Hospital, Trento Local Healthcare Trust, Trento, Italy.
  • Stefania Dorigoni Internal Medicine Department, Santa Chiara Hospital, Trento Local Healthcare Trust, Trento, Italy.
  • Marta Rigoni | mrigoni@fbk.eu Healthcare Research and Innovation Program-Heath Technology Assessment Unit, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Trento, Italy.
  • Emanuele Torri Department of Health and Social Policies, Autonomous Province of Trento, Italy.
  • Giandomenico Nollo Healthcare Research and Innovation Program-Heath Technology Assessment Unit, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Trento; BioTech Lab, Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Trento, Italy.

Abstract

In large acute medical wards treating heterogenous and complex patients, intensity of patient care should be graduated according to clinical severity. We conducted a retrospective observational study on all unselected admissions (8838) to the internal medicine ward of the Santa Chiara Hospital of Trento from 2012 to 2017. During 2012 and 2013, a standard organizational model (SMC) was in place, while an organizational model for intensity of medical care (IMC) was introduced in 2014. In SMC, patient admission was performed according to bed availability only. In IMC, patients were allocated to three different ward settings (high, medium and post-acute care) based on the stratification of clinical instability. The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) was used for the stratification, together with the clinical judgment. The implementation of the IMC model led to a decrease of mortality and urgent transfers for clinical deterioration to Intensive Care Unit and to an increase of admissions from Intensive Care Unit and from regional spoke hospitals. Redesigning delivery processes based on IMC can play a pivotal role in improving patient outcomes and bed management.

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Published
2019-04-16
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Original Articles
Keywords:
Intensity of medical care, patient risk stratification, early warning score, organizational change, bed management.
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How to Cite
Spagnolli, W., Peterlana, D., Dorigoni, S., Rigoni, M., Torri, E., & Nollo, G. (2019). Intensity of medical care in internal medicine: impact on outcomes from a trend analysis over six years. Italian Journal of Medicine, 13(2), 95-102. https://doi.org/10.4081/itjm.2019.1140