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4.  Factors and Models Associated with the amount of Hospital Care Services as Demanded by Hospitalized Patients: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98102.
Hospitals are constantly being challenged to provide high-quality care despite ageing populations, diminishing resources, and budgetary restraints. While the costs of care depend on the patients' needs, it is not clear which patient characteristics are associated with the demand for care and inherent costs. The aim of this study was to ascertain which patient-related characteristics or models can predict the need for medical and nursing care in general hospital settings.
We systematically searched MEDLINE, Embase, Business Source Premier and CINAHL. Pre-defined eligibility criteria were used to detect studies that explored patient characteristics and health status parameters associated to the use of hospital care services for hospitalized patients. Two reviewers independently assessed study relevance, quality with the STROBE instrument, and performed data analysis.
From 2,168 potentially relevant articles, 17 met our eligibility criteria. These showed a large variety of factors associated with the use of hospital care services; models were found in only three studies. Age, gender, medical and nursing diagnoses, severity of illness, patient acuity, comorbidity, and complications were the characteristics found the most. Patient acuity and medical and nursing diagnoses were the most influencing characteristics. Models including medical or nursing diagnoses and patient acuity explain the variance in the use of hospital care services for at least 56.2%, and up to 78.7% when organizational factors were added.
A larger variety of factors were found to be associated with the use of hospital care services. Models that explain the extent to which hospital care services are used should contain patient characteristics, including patient acuity, medical or nursing diagnoses, and organizational and staffing characteristics, e.g., hospital size, organization of care, and the size and skill mix of staff. This would enable healthcare managers at different levels to evaluate hospital care services and organize or reorganize patient care.
PMCID: PMC4039449  PMID: 24878506
5.  Explaining the amount of care needed by hospitalised surgical patients: a prospective time and motion study 
Hospitals provide care for patients with a variety of diseases, co-morbidities and complications. The actual amount of care these patients need is unclear. Given the recent developments such as ageing, multi-morbidity and budgetary restraints, a practical explanatory model would avail healthcare professionals and managers in determining the demand and costs for clinical care.
Six surgical wards in a Dutch university hospital participated in this prospective time and motion study. Surgeons, nurses and paramedics recorded the time spent on patient care 24/7 by means of PDAs. The investigators extracted possible determining characteristics from a previous systematic review and expert focus group. Total amount of care needed by the patients was expressed as costs involved in medical and nursing time, surgical interventions and diagnostics. Afterwards the investigators applied linear regression analysis to detect significant independent characteristics.
174 Surgical patients were monitored during their hospital stay. Characteristics significantly influencing the consumed amount of care were: medication during hospitalisation, complications, co-morbidity, medical specialty, age, as well as undergoing surgery and length of stay. Median costs for care were €8.446 per patient admission.
The investigators developed a model that explains the total demand and costs of care needed for surgical patients in a university hospital. The input for this instrument can be derived from readily available data in hospital databases. This makes it a relatively easy instrument to help healthcare professionals and managers appreciate the amount of care needed on (surgical) wards and may be used to appreciate trends in time.
PMCID: PMC3599528  PMID: 23379756
Patient characteristics; Workload; Time and motion research; (multiple) regression analysis
6.  Framework of policy recommendations for implementation of evidence-based practice: a systematic scoping review 
BMJ Open  2013;3(1):e001881.
Evidence-based practice (EBP) may help improve healthcare quality. However, not all healthcare professionals and managers use EBP in their daily practice. We systematically reviewed the literature to summarise self-reported appreciation of EBP and organisational infrastructure solutions proposed to promote EBP.
Systematic review. Two investigators independently performed the systematic reviewing process.
Information sources
MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Library were searched for publications between 2000 and 2011.
Eligibility criteria for included studies
Reviews and surveys of EBP attitude, knowledge, awareness, skills, barriers and facilitators among managers, doctors and nurses in clinical settings.
We found 31 surveys of fairly good quality. General attitude towards EBP was welcoming. Respondents perceived several barriers, but also many facilitators for EBP implementation. Solutions were proposed at various organisational levels, including (inter)national associations and hospital management promoting EBP, pregraduate and postgraduate education, as well as individual support by EBP mentors on the wards to move EBP from the classroom to the bedside.
More than 20 years after its introduction, the EBP paradigm has been embraced by healthcare professionals as an important means to improve quality of patient care, but its implementation is still deficient. Policy exerted at microlevel , middlelevel and macrolevel, and supported by professional, educational and managerial role models, may further facilitate EBP.
PMCID: PMC3563143  PMID: 23355664
Medical Education & Training
7.  Effects of clinical decision-support systems on practitioner performance and patient outcomes: a synthesis of high-quality systematic review findings 
To synthesize the literature on clinical decision-support systems' (CDSS) impact on healthcare practitioner performance and patient outcomes.
Literature search on Medline, Embase, Inspec, Cinahl, Cochrane/Dare and analysis of high-quality systematic reviews (SRs) on CDSS in hospital settings. Two-stage inclusion procedure: (1) selection of publications on predefined inclusion criteria; (2) independent methodological assessment of preincluded SRs by the 11-item measurement tool, AMSTAR. Inclusion of SRs with AMSTAR score 9 or above. SRs were thereafter rated on level of evidence. Each stage was performed by two independent reviewers.
17 out of 35 preincluded SRs were of high methodological quality and further analyzed. Evidence that CDSS significantly impacted practitioner performance was found in 52 out of 91 unique studies of the 16 SRs examining this effect (57%). Only 25 out of 82 unique studies of the 16 SRs reported evidence that CDSS positively impacted patient outcomes (30%).
Few studies have found any benefits on patient outcomes, though many of these have been too small in sample size or too short in time to reveal clinically important effects. There is significant evidence that CDSS can positively impact healthcare providers' performance with drug ordering and preventive care reminder systems as most clear examples. These outcomes may be explained by the fact that these types of CDSS require a minimum of patient data that are largely available before the advice is (to be) generated: at the time clinicians make the decisions.
PMCID: PMC3078663  PMID: 21422100
Quality; machine learning
8.  Which dressing do donor site wounds need?: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2011;12:229.
Donor site wounds after split-skin grafting are rather 'standard' wounds. At present, lots of dressings and topical agents for donor site wounds are commercially available. This causes large variation in the local care of these wounds, while the optimum 'standard' dressing for local wound care is unclear. This protocol describes a trial in which we investigate the effectiveness of various treatment options for these donor site wounds.
A 14-center, six-armed randomized clinical trial is being carried out in the Netherlands. An a-priori power analysis and an anticipated dropout rate of 15% indicates that 50 patients per group are necessary, totaling 300 patients, to be able to detect a 25% quicker mean time to complete wound healing. Randomization has been computerized to ensure allocation concealment. Adult patients who need a split-skin grafting operation for any reason, leaving a donor site wound of at least 10 cm2 are included and receive one of the following dressings: hydrocolloid, alginate, film, hydrofiber, silicone dressing, or paraffin gauze. No combinations of products from other intervention groups in this trial are allowed. Optimum application and changes of these dressings are pursued according to the protocol as supplied by the dressing manufacturers. Primary outcomes are days to complete wound healing and pain (using a Visual Analogue Scale). Secondary outcomes are adverse effects, scarring, patient satisfaction, and costs. Outcome assessors unaware of the treatment allocation will assess whether or not an outcome has occurred. Results will be analyzed according to the intention to treat principle. The first patient was randomized October 1, 2009.
This study will provide comprehensive data on the effectiveness of different treatment options for donor site wounds. The dressing(s) that will prevail in effectiveness, satisfaction and costs will be promoted among clinicians dealing with such patients. Thus, we aim to contribute a well-designed trial, relevant to all clinicians involved in the care for donor site wounds, which will help enhance uniformity and quality of care for these patients.
Trial registration, NTR1849. Date registered: June 9, 2009
PMCID: PMC3219559  PMID: 21999705
9.  Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Solution for Difficult to Heal Acute Wounds? Systematic Review 
World Journal of Surgery  2010;35(3):535-542.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is used to treat various wound types. However, the possible beneficial and harmful effects of HBOT for acute wounds are unclear.
We undertook a systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of HBOT compared to other interventions on wound healing and adverse effects in patients with acute wounds. To detect all available randomized controlled trials (RCTs) we searched five relevant databases up to March 2010. Trial selection, quality assessment, data extraction, and data synthesis were conducted by two of the authors independently.
We included five trials, totaling 360 patients. These trials, with some methodologic flaws, included different kinds of wound and focused on different outcome parameters, which prohibited meta-analysis. A French trial (n = 36 patients) reported that significantly more crush wounds healed with HBOT than with sham HBOT [relative risk (RR) 1.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11–2.61]. Moreover, there were significantly fewer additional surgical procedures required with HBOT (RR 1.60, 95% CI 1.03–2.50), and there was significantly less tissue necrosis (RR 1.70, 95% CI 1.11–2.61). In one of two American trials (n = 141) burn wounds healed significantly quicker with HBOT (P < 0.005) than with routine burn care. A British trial (n = 48) compared HBOT with usual care. HBOT resulted in a significantly higher percentage of healthy graft area in split skin grafts (RR 3.50, 95% CI 1.35–9.11). In a Chinese trial (n = 145) HBOT did not significantly improve flap survival in patients with limb skin defects.
HBOT, if readily available, appears effective for the management of acute, difficult to heal wounds.
PMCID: PMC3032900  PMID: 21184071
10.  Intravenous fluid restriction after major abdominal surgery: a randomized blinded clinical trial 
Trials  2009;10:50.
Intravenous (IV) fluid administration is an essential part of postoperative care. Some studies suggest that a restricted post-operative fluid regime reduces complications and postoperative hospital stay after surgery. We investigated the effects of postoperative fluid restriction in surgical patients undergoing major abdominal surgery.
In a blinded randomized trial, 62 patients (ASA I-III) undergoing elective major abdominal surgical procedures in a university hospital were allocated either to a restricted (1.5 L/24 h) or a standard postoperative IV fluid regime (2.5 L/24 h). Primary endpoint was length of postoperative hospital stay (PHS). Secondary endpoints included postoperative complications and time to restore gastric functions.
After a 1-year inclusion period, an unplanned interim analysis was made because of many protocol violations due to patient deterioration. In the group with the restricted regime we found a significantly increased PHS (12.3 vs. 8.3 days; p = 0.049) and significantly more major complications: 12 in 30 (40%) vs. 5 in 32 (16%) patients (Absolute Risk Increase: 0.24 [95%CI: 0.03 to 0.46], i.e. a number needed to harm of 4 [95%CI: 2–33]). Therefore, the trial was stopped prematurely. Intention to treat analysis showed no differences in time to restore gastric functions between the groups.
Restricted postoperative IV fluid management, as performed in this trial, in patients undergoing major abdominal surgery appears harmful as it is accompanied by an increased risk of major postoperative complications and a prolonged postoperative hospital stay.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN16719551
PMCID: PMC2717956  PMID: 19583868
11.  Attitudes, Awareness, and Barriers Regarding Evidence-Based Surgery Among Surgeons and Surgical Nurses 
World Journal of Surgery  2009;33(7):1348-1355.
Evidence-based surgery (EBS) is stressed to increase efficiency and health care quality, but not all surgeons and surgical nurses use EBS in clinical practice. To define future tailor-made interventions to improve evidence-based behavior, the aim of this study was to determine the attitude and awareness among surgeons and surgical nurses as to the paradigm of EBS and the barriers experienced when practicing EBS.
In this cross-sectional study, surgeons and surgical nurses at a university hospital in Amsterdam were invited to complete the BARRIERS scale and McColl et al. questionnaire. An evidence quiz was composed for the surgeons.
Response rates were 67% (29/43) for surgeons and 60% (73/122) for nurses. Attitudes toward EBS were positive. Among the surgeons, 90% were familiar with EBS terms, whereas only 40% of the nurses were. Common barriers for surgeons were conflicting results (79%, 23/29) and the methodologic inadequacy of research reports (73%, 21/29); and for nurses they were unawareness of EBS (67%, 49/73) and unclear reported research (59%, 43/73). Only about half of the convincing evidence presented in the quiz was actually applied.
Surgeons have a positive attitude toward EBS and are familiar with EBS terminology, but conflicting results and methodologic shortcomings of research reports are major barriers to practicing EBS. Continual confrontations with available evidence through frequent critical appraisal meetings or grand rounds and using more aggregate sources of evidence are advocated. Nurses can probably benefit from EBS training focusing on basic skills. Finally, collaboration is needed among surgeons and nurses with the same zest about EBS.
PMCID: PMC2691930  PMID: 19412569

Results 1-11 (11)