A model based on intensity of medical care may improve outcomes for internal medicine patients in Italy

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Background In medical wards, to guarantee safe, sustainable and effective treatments to heterogeneous and complex patients, care should be graduated into different levels of clinical intensity based on a standardised assessment of acute-illness severity. To support this assumption, we conducted a prospective observational study on all unselected admissions of 3,381 patients to a medium size internal Italian Medicine Unit by comparing Standard Medical Care model (SMC) to a new paradigm of patient admission based on Intensity of Medical Care (IMC). Methods The SMC operated during 2013, while an IMC organizational model started in 2014. In SMC, patient's admission was performed according to bed availability only. In IMC, after the stratification of clinical instability performed using the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) and clinical judgment, patients were allocated to three different ward areas (high, middle, and post-acute medical care). We compared clinical and organizational outcomes of IMC patients (2015) to SMC patients (2013), performing adjusted logistic regression model. Results We managed 1,609 and 1,772 patients using SMC and IMC, respectively. The IMC seemed to be associated to a lower risk of clinical worsening for patients. Comparing IMC to SMC, the odds ratio (aOR) for urgent transfers to intensive care units was 0.69 (p = 0.03), and for combination of urgent transfers and early deaths was 0.68 (p<0.01). Conclusions Redesigning the configuration of internal medicine ward to support urgency and competency of the clinical response by applying IMC paradigm based on the NEWS, improved outcomes in patients with acute illness and enhanced ward performances.




Torri, E., Rigoni, M., Dorigoni, S., Peterlana, D., Cozzio, S., Nollo, G., & Spagnolli, W. (2019). A model based on intensity of medical care may improve outcomes for internal medicine patients in Italy. PLoS ONE, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0211548

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