The quality of internal medicine hospital care during summer holiday season.

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The quality of internal medicine hospital care during summer holiday season.

J Eval Clin Pract. 2014 Aug;20(4):327-32

Authors: Sipilä J, Kauko T, Kytö V, Stormi T, Rautava P

RATIONALE, AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The July/August Phenomenon is a period when the quality of care in hospitals is thought to decrease due to summer vacation stand-ins and new staff. The results of studies on the veracity of this claim have been conflicting. This study investigates the situation in internal medicine.
METHODS: Registry data of patients treated in internal medicine wards between 1 July 2000 and 30 November 2009 were obtained and analysed.
RESULTS: There were no differences in mortality during the July admissions compared with those in November when adjusting for age, diagnosis, gender and year [for the overall data risk ratio (RR) = 1.10, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00-1.23, P = 0.06; for the university hospitals RR = 1.10, 95% CI 0.91-1.33, P = 0.34; for the non-university hospitals RR = 1.10, 95% CI 0.97-1.26, P = 0.13]. The duration of admission (overall mean 4.5, standard deviation 6.0) was equal between July and November when adjusted for age, diagnosis, gender and year in all groups (overall data: RR = 1.00, 95% CI 0.99-1.02, P = 0.83; university hospitals RR = 1.02, 95% CI 0.99-1.04, P = 0.13; non-university hospitals RR = 1.00, 95% CI 0.98-1.01, P = 0.67).
CONCLUSIONS: The quality of care in Finnish internal medicine wards in July seems to equal November. Our results do not support the existence of a July Phenomenon in Finland.

PMID: 24779454 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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