Quick diagnosis units or conventional hospitalisation for the diagnostic evaluation of severe anaemia: a paradigm shift in public health systems?
Eur J Intern Med. 2012 Mar;23(2):159-64
Authors: Bosch X, Palacios F, InclÃÂ¡n-IrÃÂbar G, CastaÃÂ±eda M, JordÃÂ¡n A, Moreno P, Coca A, LÃÂ³pez-Soto A
BACKGROUND: Acute hospital bed utilisation is a growing concern for health care systems in most countries with public health models, as it represents a significant share of health costs. Anaemia with haemoglobin levels below 8 g/l has traditionally been a criterion used to hospitalise patients in our centre for diagnosis.
METHODS: We conducted a longitudinal study with a prospective and retrospective cohort to investigate the usefulness of a Quick Diagnosis Unit (QDU) for the evaluation of patients with severe anaemia as compared with hospitalisation in a tertiary public hospital. We recorded pretransfusion haemoglobin and haematocrit values, Charlson comorbidity index, waiting time for the first visit, time to diagnosis (length-of-stay in hospitalised patients), final diagnosis, costs, and responses to an opinion survey.
RESULTS: QDU patients were significantly younger [65.63 years (17.44)] than hospitalised patients [76.11 years (12.68)] (P<.0001). No significant differences were observed regarding time to diagnosis/length-of-stay, haemoglobin concentrations and Charlson index. Iron-deficiency anaemia was the commonest type of anaemia in both cohorts and benign digestive lesions accounted for most cases. The mean cost per process (admission-discharge episode) was 2920.62 Euros in the QDU and 18,278.01 Euros in hospitalised patients. If further diagnostic tests were required, 85% of patients would prefer the QDU care model to conventional hospital admission.
CONCLUSIONS: For diagnostic purposes, patients with severe anaemia can be managed similarly in a QDU or in-hospital setting, but the QDU model is more cost-saving than traditional hospitalisation. Most QDU patients preferred the QDU model to hospital admission.
PMID: 22284247 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]