Hospitalisation of COPD Patients may be Reduced by 67% by Introducing Integrated Care Conferences

A new study presented in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association has found that integrated care conferences (ICCs) can lead to an almost 67 percent reduction in the hospital stay of COPD patients. ICC is a daily meeting of health care teams in which they share all the information at a time.

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But according to the statement of the research team, this concept is hardly implemented. The multidisciplinary health care team consists of general physicians, pharmacists, nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, and some others.

This team is responsible for providing care to the patients once they are admitted to the hospitals. In most hospitals, the responsibility of care coordination lies on the shoulders of general physicians that fulfill their duty via in-person meetings, phone calls, and individual emails.

Ryan Shilian is the study’s leading author, working with the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center as an Adult and Pediatric Allergy/Immunology Fellow. In a statement, he said that when he observed a hospital with integrated care conferences for the first time, he was amazed at how efficiently and smoothly everything was running.

On the contrary, in many hospitals, general physicians are left with the responsibility of physically seeking out and coordinating supportive services. In this study, Dr. Shilian has made efforts along with his team to check the effectiveness of integrated care conferences using the data of two University Hospital facilities.

The research team has compared their data regarding the time for which COPD patients have stayed in the hospitals. Both of these hospital facilities had similar patient populations, resources, and staffing. The main difference between them was based on the presence of a daily ICC.

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In one of these facilities, ICCs were maintained on a daily basis in which representatives from every health care team got together to talk about the progress of the patient and barriers that may halt a safe discharge.

In the hospital without integrated care conferences, the average stay of the COPD patients was of 5.5 days. Whereas, in contrast to this, the length of hospital stay was 3.37 days in hospital maintaining ICCs. On comparison, it was also found that the length of hospital stays of COPD patients with age 40 – 69 years was 67% shorter in the hospital with ICCs.

Similarly, in the same hospital, the length of stays was 36 percent shorter in the case of a patient with age 77 – 99 years. According to Dr. Shilian’s statement, the more common model available for coordination of care (without ICCs) is not only time-taking but also depicts a greater risk for gaps and miscommunication during treatment.

He said that reduction in the length of hospital stays can decrease the cost required for treatment and also improve the health outcomes in patients by reducing the risk of secondary infections.

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The multidisciplinary rounds (MDRs), involving residents, nurses, ancillary clinicians, medical students, and staff, are conducted in the majority of hospitals for discussing a patient’s diagnosis and plans for its treatment. But these multidisciplinary rounds are often conducted at the bedside, providing a limited time and space for carrying out a meaningful discussion with a large group of people.

On the contrary, the integrated care conferences (ICCs) are carried out in a conference room providing enough time, space, and a collaborative environment for the required staff.