Study: Infectious Diseases Specialists Reduce Patient Mortality, Costs

Hospital patients with certain infections have lower mortality, readmission rates, length of stay and costs when treated early by an infectious diseases specialist than when treated later, according to a study in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Researchers examined fee-for-service Medicare claims of patients hospitalized between 2008 and 2009 with at least one of 11 infections, such as Clostridium difficile and central line-associated bloodstream infections. Patients treated by an infectious diseases specialist were 9 percent less likely to die in the hospital and 12 percent less likely to die within 30 days of discharge than patients who were not treated by an ID specialist, according to a news release. Patients treated by an ID specialist also had lower readmission rates and a 3.7 percent lower intensive care unit length of stay than other patients, although their total length of stay was 1.3 percent longer.

Within the ID intervention cohort, those who were treated within two days of admission had a 6 percent lower 30-day readmission rate and nearly 6.2 percent lower total Medicare costs than patients treated by an ID specialist later, according to the release. Patients who were treated early also had a lower 30-day mortality rate and hospital and ICU length of stay than patients who were treated later.

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