Patients admitted to major teaching hospitals are less likely to die compared with patients admitted to minor teaching or non-teaching hospitals, according to a large national study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
For the new study, researchers analyzed data for 21.5 million hospitalizations of Medicare beneficiaries at 4,483 hospitals across the U.S—250 major teaching hospitals, 894 minor teaching hospitals, and 3,339 non-teaching hospitals— between 2012 and 2014. The study looked at 30-day mortality rates for 15 common medical conditions, such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and stroke, and for six surgical procedures, including hip replacement, coronary artery bypass grafting, and colectomy.
Choosing a hospital is extremely important to the 3% of Americans planning elective surgeries during the next 12 months, as the results from the new AudienceSCAN survey showed.
The 30-day mortality rate was 8.1% at major teaching hospitals, 9.2% at minor teaching hospitals, and 9.6% at non-teaching hospitals, the study found. The overall 30-day mortality difference between major teaching hospitals and non-teaching hospitals was 1.5%. This pattern—with major teaching hospitals showing better 30-day outcomes—persisted even after the researchers adjusted for patient characteristics such as age and severity of illness, and hospital characteristics such as size and profit status. Major teaching hospitals also had lower 7‑day and 90-day mortality rates— by 0.3% and 1.6%, respectively—than non-teaching hospitals.
Teaching hospitals can promote these stats in advertising campaigns to bring in Elective Surgery Shoppers. The new AudienceSCAN study found 44% of shoppers took action after receiving mobile smartphone app ads or text message ads in the past month.
Speculating as to why teaching status was linked with lower mortality, the authors said it’s possible that teaching hospitals have greater experience treating particular conditions or may be earlier adopters of technologies and treatments that yield better outcomes for patients. But they said more research is necessary to understand the mechanisms behind the association. The study examined mortality rates only among the Medicare population, so it wasn’t possible to determine whether the findings are generalizable among non-elderly populations.
Reaching patients over the radio (over-the-air, online, mobile or tablet) could be effective. The new AudienceSCAN data revealed 36% of Elective Surgery Shoppers took action after hearing spots in the past month.
"While obviously not all patients can receive care in major teaching hospitals, understanding which strategies and resources are particularly important to patient outcomes, and how they can be replicated among non-teaching hospitals, is critically important to improve care for all patients,” Laura Burke, instructor of health policy and management at Harvard Chan School, emergency physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and lead author of the study, said.