PLoS One. 2022 Feb 25;17(2):e0263417. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263417. eCollection 2022.
BACKGROUND: Given the rapid spread of COVID-19 and its associated morbidity and mortality, healthcare providers throughout the world have been forced to constantly update and change their care delivery models.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the outcomes of COVID-19 hospitalized patients during the course of the pandemic in a well-integrated health system.
METHODS: The study used data from the electronic health medical records to assess trends in clinical profile and outcomes of hospitalized adult COVID-19 patients hospitalized in our 5-hospital health system from March 2020-May 2021 (n = 6865). Integration of the health system began in February 2020 and was fully actualized by March 30, 2020.
RESULTS: Mortality decreased from 15% during first peak (March-May 2020; the rate includes 19% in March-April and 10% in May 2020) to 6% in summer-fall 2020, increased to 13% during the second peak (November 2020-January 2021), and dropped to 7% during the decline period (February-May 2021) (p<0.01). Resource utilization followed a similar pattern including a decrease in ICU use from 35% (first peak) to 16% (decline period), mechanical ventilation from 16% (first peak, including 45% in March 2020) to 9-11% in subsequent periods (p<0.01). Independent predictors of inpatient mortality across multiple study periods included older age, male sex, higher multi-morbidity scores, morbid obesity, and indicators of severe illness on admission such as oxygen saturation ≤90% and high qSOFA score (all p<0.05). However, admission during the first peak remained independently associated with increased mortality even after adjustment for patient-related factors: odds ratio = 1.8 (1.4-2.4) (p<0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: The creation of a fully integrated health system allowed us to dynamically respond to the everchanging COVID-19 landscape. In this context, despite the increasing patient acuity, our mortality and resource utilization rates have improved during the pandemic.