Stayin’ alive: The introduction of municipal in-patient acute care units was associated with reduced mortality and fewer hospital readmissions

Link to article at PubMed

Soc Sci Med. 2023 Apr 20;326:115912. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.115912. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Integrated care is seen as integral in combating the current and projected resource scarcity in the healthcare systems of developed economies. Previous research finds positive effects from implementing intermediate care but there is a lack of research on how this shift towards care integration has affected traditional quality indicators within healthcare, indicators such as mortality rates and hospital readmissions. We seek to contribute to the discourse by studying how the introduction of intermediate care in the form of municipal acute units (MAUs) in Norway has affected age adjusted mortality rates and hospital readmissions.

DATA AND METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study we utilize yearly population-based registry data from 2010 to 2016, analysed with fixed-effects regressions. Data on the implementation, characteristics and localization of the MAUs were gathered by telephone during the implementation period. Data on mortality rates and hospital readmissions were collected from Statistics Norway and the Norwegian patient registry.

RESULTS: Our analyses finds that the introduction of MAU was associated with a statistically significant reduction in both aggregated mortality rates and hospital readmission rates. In depth analyses finds that our results are contingent upon the age of the patients treated at the MAUs and the clinical characteristics of the medical units themselves.

CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that the shift towards intermediate care through the introduction of MAUs has increased performance within the public healthcare sector in Norway. Our findings indicate that the introduction of MAU have had a positive public health impact by lowering the mortality and readmission rates for the oldest population cohort in Norway. Our findings suggests that countries with comparatively similar healthcare systems as Norway could achieve similar benefits from implementing intermediate care in the form of somatic medical institutions in the local communities.

PMID:37104970 | DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.115912

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *