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60% of burn patients admitted to burn centers: U.S.

North Carolina has two burn centers verified by the American Burn Association.  Despite the availability of these resources and a well-established state EMS system, only half of burn victims were found to be admitted to North Carolina’s two verified burn centers during the study period from 2000 to 2007.  This compares with 60 percent nationally.  Interestingly, a commentator on this article cited similar data from a study of burn referral patterns in Florida — about half of burn patients were referred to burn centers.  The North Carolina study also looked at outcomes of the specialized burn centers compared to burn patients in other hospitals.  The burn centers’ median length of stay was 7 days compared to 4 in other hospitals and mortality was higher (7.5 percent compared to 1.5 percent).  The burn centers also were more likely to perform operations on the burn patients.  These outcomes are consistent with the likelihood of having more seriously-injured patients in the specialized burn centers.  Patients treated in hospitals other than the specialized burn centers were found to have a higher percentage of discharges going to skilled nursing facilities.

Sources: 

Holmes, J.H. IV, and others.  The effectiveness of regionalized burn care: an analysis of 6,873 burn admissions in North Carolina from 2000 to 2007Journal of the American College of Surgeons;212(4):487-495, Apr. 2011.

American Burn Association.  Burn Center Verification, [accessed 5/3/11].

Posted by the AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

Best practices to reduce readmissions for heart patients

Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center (Houston, TX, 427 beds) ranks among the best hospitals in the country for low readmission rates for patients with acute myocardial infarction.  This case study examines changes made in the hospital’s heart and vascular institute that resulted in substantial performance improvement.  Of key importance were changes that resulted in a decrease in door-to-balloon time down to an average of 65 minutes.  Tips on how to achieve this are included in this white paper.

Source: Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center: excellence in heart attack care reduces readmissions.  Case Study: High Performing Health Care Organization [The Commonwealth Fund], Feb. 2011.  http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/Files/Publications/Case%20Study/2011/Feb/1470_Lashbrook_Memorial_Hermann_readmission_case_study_web_version.pdf