Do variations in hospital mortality patterns after weekend admission reflect reduced quality of care or different patient cohorts? A population-based study.
BMJ Qual Saf. 2013 Oct 25;
Authors: Concha OP, Gallego B, Hillman K, Delaney GP, Coiera E
BACKGROUND: Proposed causes for increased mortality following weekend admission (the 'weekend effect') include poorer quality of care and sicker patients. The aim of this study was to analyse the 7 days post-admission time patterns of excess mortality following weekend admission to identify whether distinct patterns exist for patients depending upon the relative contribution of poorer quality of care (care effect) or a case selection bias for patients presenting on weekends (patient effect).
METHODS: Emergency department admissions to all 501 hospitals in New South Wales, Australia, between 2000 and 2007 were linked to the Death Registry and analysed. There were a total of 3 381 962 admissions for 539 122 patients and 64 789 deaths at 1 week after admission. We computed excess mortality risk curves for weekend over weekday admissions, adjusting for age, sex, comorbidity (Charlson index) and diagnostic group.
RESULTS: Weekends accounted for 27% of all admissions (917 257/3 381 962) and 28% of deaths (18 282/64 789). Sixteen of 430 diagnosis groups had a significantly increased risk of death following weekend admission. They accounted for 40% of all deaths, and demonstrated different temporal excess mortality risk patterns: early care effect (cardiac arrest); care effect washout (eg, pulmonary embolism); patient effect (eg, cancer admissions) and mixed (eg, stroke).
CONCLUSIONS: The excess mortality patterns of the weekend effect vary widely for different diagnostic groups. Recognising these different patterns should help identify at-risk diagnoses where quality of care can be improved in order to minimise the excess mortality associated with weekend admission.
PMID: 24163392 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]