Publications

2015
Beau M Hawkins, Kevin F Kennedy, Herbert D Aronow, Louis L Nguyen, Christopher J White, Kenneth Rosenfield, Sharon-Lise T Normand, John A Spertus, and Robert W Yeh. 2015. “Hospital variation in carotid stenting outcomes.” JACC Cardiovasc Interv, 8, 6, Pp. 858-63.Abstract
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to examine variation in outcomes for patients receiving carotid artery stenting (CAS) across a sample of U.S. hospitals and assess the extent to which this variation was attributable to differences in case mix and procedural volume. BACKGROUND: As CAS is increasingly being used throughout the United States, assessing hospital variation in CAS outcomes is critical to understanding and improving the quality of care for patients with carotid artery disease. METHODS: Hospitals participating in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry-Carotid Artery Endarterectomy and Revascularization Registry contributing more than 5 CAS procedures from 2005 through 2013 were eligible for inclusion. We estimated unadjusted and risk-standardized rates of in-hospital stroke or death for each participating hospital using a previously validated prediction model and applying hospital-level random effects. RESULTS: There were 188 hospitals contributing 19,381 CAS procedures during the period of interest. Unadjusted and risk-standardized in-hospital stroke or death rates ranged from 0% to 18.8% and 1.2% to 4.7%, respectively. Operator and hospital volumes were not significant predictors of outcomes after adjustment for case mix (p = 0.15 and p = 0.09, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: CAS outcomes vary 4-fold among hospitals, even after adjustment for differences in case mix. Future work is needed to identify the sources of this variation and develop initiatives to improve patient outcomes.
Emily M Bucholz, Sharon-Lise T Normand, Yun Wang, Shuangge Ma, Haiqun Lin, and Harlan M Krumholz. 2015. “Life Expectancy and Years of Potential Life Lost After Acute Myocardial Infarction by Sex and Race: A Cohort-Based Study of Medicare Beneficiaries.” J Am Coll Cardiol, 66, 6, Pp. 645-55.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Most studies of sex and race differences after acute myocardial infarction (AMI) have not taken into account differences in life expectancy in the general population. Years of potential life lost (YPLL) is a metric that takes into account the burden of disease and can be compared by sex and race. OBJECTIVES: This study sought to determine sex and race differences in long-term survival after AMI using life expectancy and YPLL to account for differences in population-based life expectancy. METHODS: Using data from the Cooperative Cardiovascular Project, a prospective cohort study of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for AMI between 1994 and 1995 (N = 146,743), we calculated life expectancy and YPLL using Cox proportional hazards regression with extrapolation using exponential models. RESULTS: Of the 146,743 patients with AMI, 48.1% were women and 6.4% were black; the average age was 75.9 years. Post-AMI life expectancy estimates were similar for men and women of the same race but lower for black patients than white patients. On average, women lost 10.5% (SE 0.3%) more of their expected life than men, and black patients lost 6.2% (SE 0.6%) more of their expected life than white patients. After adjustment, women still lost an average of 7.8% (0.3%) more of their expected life than men, but black race became associated with a survival advantage, suggesting that racial differences in YPLL were largely explained by differences in clinical presentation and treatment between black and white patients. CONCLUSIONS: Women and black patients lost more years of life after AMI, on average, than men and white patients, an effect that was not explained in women by clinical or treatment differences.
Anup Amatya, Dulal K Bhaumik, Sharon-Lise Normand, Joel Greenhouse, Eloise Kaizar, Brian Neelon, and Robert D Gibbons. 2015. “Likelihood-Based Random-Effect Meta-Analysis of Binary Events.” J Biopharm Stat, 25, 5, Pp. 984-1004.Abstract
Meta-analysis has been used extensively for evaluation of efficacy and safety of medical interventions. Its advantages and utilities are well known. However, recent studies have raised questions about the accuracy of the commonly used moment-based meta-analytic methods in general and for rare binary outcomes in particular. The issue is further complicated for studies with heterogeneous effect sizes. Likelihood-based mixed-effects modeling provides an alternative to moment-based methods such as inverse-variance weighted fixed- and random-effects estimators. In this article, we compare and contrast different mixed-effect modeling strategies in the context of meta-analysis. Their performance in estimation and testing of overall effect and heterogeneity are evaluated when combining results from studies with a binary outcome. Models that allow heterogeneity in both baseline rate and treatment effect across studies have low type I and type II error rates, and their estimates are the least biased among the models considered.
Lauren M Kunz, Sharon-Lise T Normand, and Art Sedrakyan. 2015. “Meta-analysis of rate ratios with differential follow-up by treatment arm: inferring comparative effectiveness of medical devices.” Stat Med, 34, 21, Pp. 2913-25.Abstract
Modeling events requires accounting for differential follow-up duration, especially when combining randomized and observational studies. Although events occur at any point over a follow-up period and censoring occurs throughout, most applied researchers use odds ratios as association measures, assuming follow-up duration is similar across treatment groups. We derive the bias of the rate ratio when incorrectly assuming equal follow-up duration in the single study binary treatment setting. Simulations illustrate bias, efficiency, and coverage and demonstrate that bias and coverage worsen rapidly as the ratio of follow-up duration between arms moves away from one. Combining study rate ratios with hierarchical Poisson regression models, we examine bias and coverage for the overall rate ratio via simulation in three cases: when average arm-specific follow-up duration is available for all studies, some studies, and no study. In the null case, bias and coverage are poor when the study average follow-up is used and improve even if some arm-specific follow-up information is available. As the rate ratio gets further from the null, bias and coverage remain poor. We investigate the effectiveness of cardiac resynchronization therapy devices compared with those with cardioverter-defibrillator capacity where three of eight studies report arm-specific follow-up duration.
Harlan M Krumholz, Sudhakar V Nuti, Nicholas S Downing, Sharon-Lise T Normand, and Yun Wang. 2015. “Mortality, Hospitalizations, and Expenditures for the Medicare Population Aged 65 Years or Older, 1999-2013.” JAMA, 314, 4, Pp. 355-65.Abstract
IMPORTANCE: In a period of dynamic change in health care technology, delivery, and behaviors, tracking trends in health and health care can provide a perspective on what is being achieved. OBJECTIVE: To comprehensively describe national trends in mortality, hospitalizations, and expenditures in the Medicare fee-for-service population between 1999 and 2013. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Serial cross-sectional analysis of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years or older between 1999 and 2013 using Medicare denominator and inpatient files. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: For all Medicare beneficiaries, trends in all-cause mortality; for fee-for-service beneficiaries, trends in all-cause hospitalization and hospitalization-associated outcomes and expenditures. Geographic variation, stratified by key demographic groups, and changes in the intensity of care for fee-for-service beneficiaries in the last 1, 3, and 6 months of life were also assessed. RESULTS: The sample consisted of 68,374,904 unique Medicare beneficiaries (fee-for-service and Medicare Advantage). All-cause mortality for all Medicare beneficiaries declined from 5.30% in 1999 to 4.45% in 2013 (difference, 0.85 percentage points; 95% CI, 0.83-0.87). Among fee-for-service beneficiaries (n = 60,056,069), the total number of hospitalizations per 100,000 person-years decreased from 35,274 to 26,930 (difference, 8344; 95% CI, 8315-8374). Mean inflation-adjusted inpatient expenditures per Medicare fee-for-service beneficiary declined from $3290 to $2801 (difference, $489; 95% CI, $487-$490). Among fee-for-service beneficiaries in the last 6 months of life, the number of hospitalizations decreased from 131.1 to 102.9 per 100 deaths (difference, 28.2; 95% CI, 27.9-28.4). The percentage of beneficiaries with 1 or more hospitalizations decreased from 70.5 to 56.8 per 100 deaths (difference, 13.7; 95% CI, 13.5-13.8), while the inflation-adjusted inpatient expenditure per death increased from $15,312 in 1999 to $17,423 in 2009 and then decreased to $13,388 in 2013. Findings were consistent across geographic and demographic groups. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged 65 years or older, all-cause mortality rates, hospitalization rates, and expenditures per beneficiary decreased from 1999 to 2013. In the last 6 months of life, total hospitalizations and inpatient expenditures decreased in recent years.
Daniel B Kramer, Susan L Mitchell, Joao Monteiro, Paul W Jones, Sharon-Lise Normand, David L Hayes, and Matthew R Reynolds. 2015. “Patient Activity and Survival Following Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator Implantation: The ALTITUDE Activity Study.” J Am Heart Assoc, 4, 5.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Physical activity data are collected automatically by implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). Though these data potentially provide a quantifiable and easily accessible measure of functional status, its relationship with survival has not been well studied. METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients enrolled in the Boston Scientific LATITUDE remote monitoring system from 2008 to 2012 with ICDs were eligible. Remote monitoring data were used to calculate mean daily activity at baseline (30 to 60 days after implantation), and longitudinally. Cox regression was used to examine the association between survival and increments of 30 minutes/day in both (1) mean baseline activity and (2) time-varying activity, with both adjusted for demographic and device characteristics. A total of 98 437 patients were followed for a median of 2.2 years (mean age of 67.7±13.1 years; 71.7% male). Mean baseline daily activity was 107.5±66.2 minutes/day. The proportion of patients surviving after 4 years was significantly higher among those in the most versus least active quintile of mean baseline activity (90.5% vs. 50.0%; log-rank P value, <0.001). Lower mean baseline activity (i.e., incremental difference of 30-minutes/day) was independently associated with a higher risk of death (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR], 1.44; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.427 to 1.462). Time-varying activity was similarly associated with a higher risk of death (AHR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.451 to 1.508), indicating that a patient having 30 minutes per day less activity in a given month has a 48% increased hazard for death when compared to a similar patient in the same month. CONCLUSIONS: Patient activity measured by ICDs strongly correlates with survival following ICD implantation.
Robert W Yeh, Laura Mauri, Robert E Wolf, Iyah K Romm, Ann Lovett, David Shahian, and Sharon-Lise Normand. 2015. “Population trends in rates of coronary revascularization.” JAMA Intern Med, 175, 3, Pp. 454-6.
Emily M Bucholz, Shuangge Ma, Sharon-Lise T Normand, and Harlan M Krumholz. 2015. “Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Life Expectancy After Acute Myocardial Infarction.” Circulation, 132, 14, Pp. 1338-46.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Previous studies have been unable to disentangle the negative associations of black race and low socioeconomic status (SES) with long-term outcomes of patients after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Such information could assist in efforts to address both racial and socioeconomic disparities. METHODS AND RESULTS: We used data from the Cooperative Cardiovascular Project, a prospective cohort study of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with AMI with 17 years of follow-up, to evaluate the relationship between race, area-level SES (measured by zip code-level median household income), and life expectancy after AMI. Life expectancy was estimated by using Cox proportional hazards regression with extrapolation using exponential models. Of the 141 095 patients with AMI, 6.3% were black and 6.8% resided in low-SES areas; 26% of black patients lived in low-SES areas in comparison with 5.7% of white patients. Post-myocardial infarction life expectancy estimates were shorter for black patients than for white patients across all socioeconomic levels in patients ≤ 75 years of age. After adjustment for patient and treatment characteristics, the association between race and life expectancy persisted but was attenuated. Younger black patients (<68 years) had shorter life expectancies than white patients, whereas older black patients had longer life expectancies. The largest white-black gap in life expectancy occurred in patients residing in high- and medium-SES areas (P=0.02 interaction). CONCLUSIONS: Black and white patients residing in low-SES areas have similar life expectancies after AMI, which are lower than those living in higher-SES areas. Racial disparities were most prominent among patients living in high-SES areas.
Brahmajee K Nallamothu, Sharon-Lise T Normand, Yongfei Wang, Timothy P Hofer, John E Brush, John C Messenger, Elizabeth H Bradley, John S Rumsfeld, and Harlan M Krumholz. 2015. “Relation between door-to-balloon times and mortality after primary percutaneous coronary intervention over time: a retrospective study.” Lancet, 385, 9973, Pp. 1114-22.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Recent reductions in average door-to-balloon (D2B) times have not been associated with decreases in mortality at the population level. We investigated this seemingly paradoxical finding by assessing components of this association at the individual and population levels simultaneously. We postulated that the changing population of patients undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (pPCI) contributed to secular trends toward an increasing mortality risk, despite consistently decreased mortality in individual patients with shorter D2B times. METHODS: This was a retrospective study of ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients who underwent pPCI between Jan 1, 2005, and Dec 31, 2011, in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) CathPCI Registry. We looked for catheterisation laboratory visits associated with STEMI. We excluded patients not undergoing pPCI, transfer patients for pPCI, patients with D2B times less than 15 min or more than 3 h, and patients at hospitals that did not consistently report data across the study period. We assessed in-hospital mortality in the entire cohort and 6-month mortality in elderly patients aged 65 years or older matched to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. We built multilevel models to assess the relation between D2B time and in-hospital and 6-month mortality, including both individual and population-level components of this association after adjusting for patient and procedural factors. FINDINGS: 423 hospitals reported data on 150,116 procedures with a 55% increase in the number of patients undergoing pPCI at these facilities over time, as well as many changes in patient and procedural factors. Annual D2B times decreased significantly from a median of 86 min (IQR 65-109) in 2005 to 63 min (IQR 47-80) in 2011 (p<0·0001) with a concurrent rise in risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality (from 4·7% to 5·3%; p=0·06) and risk-adjusted 6-month mortality (from 12·9% to 14·4%; p=0·001). In multilevel models, shorter patient-specific D2B times were consistently associated at the individual level with lower in-hospital mortality (adjusted OR for each 10 min decrease 0·92; 95% CI 0·91-0·93; p<0·0001) and 6-month mortality (adjusted OR for each 10 min decrease, 0·94; 95% CI 0·93-0·95; p<0·0001). By contrast, risk-adjusted in-hospital and 6-month mortality at the population level, independent of patient-specific D2B times, rose in the growing and changing population of patients undergoing pPCI during the study period. INTERPRETATION: Shorter patient-specific D2B times were consistently associated with lower mortality over time, whereas secular trends suggest increased mortality risk in the growing and changing pPCI population. The absence of association of annual D2B time and changes in mortality at the population level should not be interpreted as an indication of its individual-level relation in patients with STEMI undergoing primary PCI. FUNDING: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
David M Shahian, Xia He, Jeffrey P Jacobs, Paul A Kurlansky, Vinay Badhwar, Joseph C Cleveland, Frank L Fazzalari, Giovanni Filardo, Sharon-Lise T Normand, Anthony P Furnary, Mitchell J Magee, Scott J Rankin, Karl F Welke, Jane Han, and Sean M O'Brien. 2015. “The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Composite Measure of Individual Surgeon Performance for Adult Cardiac Surgery: A Report of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Quality Measurement Task Force.” Ann Thorac Surg, 100, 4, Pp. 1315-24; discussion 1324-5.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Previous composite performance measures of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) were estimated at the STS participant level, typically a hospital or group practice. The STS Quality Measurement Task Force has now developed a multiprocedural, multidimensional composite measure suitable for estimating the performance of individual surgeons. METHODS: The development sample from the STS National Database included 621,489 isolated coronary artery bypass grafting procedures, isolated aortic valve replacement, aortic valve replacement plus coronary artery bypass grafting, mitral, or mitral plus coronary artery bypass grafting procedures performed by 2,286 surgeons between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2014. Each surgeon's composite score combined their aggregate risk-adjusted mortality and major morbidity rates (each weighted inversely by their standard deviations) and reflected the proportion of case types they performed. Model parameters were estimated in a Bayesian framework. Composite star ratings were examined using 90%, 95%, or 98% Bayesian credible intervals. Measure reliability was estimated using various 3-year case thresholds. RESULTS: The final composite measure was defined as 0.81 × (1 minus risk-standardized mortality rate) + 0.19 × (1 minus risk-standardized complication rate). Risk-adjusted mortality (median, 2.3%; interquartile range, 1.7% to 3.0%), morbidity (median, 13.7%; interquartile range, 10.8% to 17.1%), and composite scores (median, 95.4%; interquartile range, 94.4% to 96.3%) varied substantially across surgeons. Using 98% Bayesian credible intervals, there were 207 1-star (lower performance) surgeons (9.1%), 1,701 2-star (as-expected performance) surgeons (74.4%), and 378 3-star (higher performance) surgeons (16.5%). With an eligibility threshold of 100 cases over 3 years, measure reliability was 0.81. CONCLUSIONS: The STS has developed a multiprocedural composite measure suitable for evaluating performance at the individual surgeon level.
Jing Li, Xi Li, Qing Wang, Shuang Hu, Yongfei Wang, Frederick A Masoudi, John A Spertus, Harlan M Krumholz, and Lixin Jiang. 2015. “ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction in China from 2001 to 2011 (the China PEACE-Retrospective Acute Myocardial Infarction Study): a retrospective analysis of hospital data.” Lancet, 385, 9966, Pp. 441-51.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Despite the importance of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) in China, no nationally representative studies have characterised the clinical profiles, management, and outcomes of this cardiac event during the past decade. We aimed to assess trends in characteristics, treatment, and outcomes for patients with STEMI in China between 2001 and 2011. METHODS: In a retrospective analysis of hospital records, we used a two-stage random sampling design to create a nationally representative sample of patients in China admitted to hospital for STEMI in 3 years (2001, 2006, and 2011). In the first stage, we used a simple random-sampling procedure stratified by economic-geographical region to generate a list of participating hospitals. In the second stage we obtained case data for rates of STEMI, treatments, and baseline characteristics from patients attending each sampled hospital with a systematic sampling approach. We weighted our findings to estimate nationally representative rates and assess changes from 2001 to 2011. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01624883. FINDINGS: We sampled 175 hospitals (162 participated in the study) and 18,631 acute myocardial infarction admissions, of which 13,815 were STEMI admissions. 12,264 patients were included in analysis of treatments, procedures, and tests, and 11,986 were included in analysis of in-hospital outcomes. Between 2001 and 2011, estimated national rates of hospital admission for STEMI per 100,000 people increased (from 3·5 in 2001, to 7·9 in 2006, to 15·4 in 2011; ptrend<0·0001) and the prevalence of risk factors-including smoking, hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidaemia-increased. We noted significant increases in use of aspirin within 24 h (79·7% [95% CI 77·9-81·5] in 2001 vs 91·2% [90·5-91·8] in 2011, ptrend<0·0001) and clopidogrel (1·5% [95% CI 1·0-2·1] in 2001 vs 82·1% [81·1-83·0] in 2011, ptrend<0·0001) in patients without documented contraindications. Despite an increase in the use of primary percutaneous coronary intervention (10·6% [95% CI 8·6-12·6] in 2001 vs 28·1% [26·6-29·7] in 2011, ptrend<0·0001), the proportion of patients who did not receive reperfusion did not significantly change (45·3% [95% CI 42·1-48·5] in 2001 vs 44·8% [43·1-46·5] in 2011, ptrend=0·69). The median length of hospital stay decreased from 12 days (IQR 7-18) in 2001 to 10 days (6-14) in 2011 (ptrend<0·0001). Adjusted in-hospital mortality did not significantly change between 2001 and 2011 (odds ratio 0·82, 95% CI 0·62-1·10, ptrend=0·07). INTERPRETATION: During the past decade in China, hospital admissions for STEMI have risen; in these patients, comorbidities and the intensity of testing and treatment have increased. Quality of care has improved for some treatments, but important gaps persist and in-hospital mortality has not decreased. National efforts are needed to improve the care and outcomes for patients with STEMI in China. FUNDING: National Health and Family Planning Commission of China.
Alisa B Busch, Arnold M Epstein, Thomas G McGuire, Sharon-Lise T Normand, and Richard G Frank. 2015. “Thirty-Day Hospital Readmission for Medicaid Enrollees with Schizophrenia: The Role of Local Health Care Systems.” J Ment Health Policy Econ, 18, 3, Pp. 115-24.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Examining health care system characteristics possibly associated with 30-day readmission may reveal opportunities to improve healthcare quality as well as reduce costs. AIMS OF THE STUDY: Examine the relationship between 30-day mental health readmission for persons with schizophrenia and county-level community treatment characteristics. METHODS: Observational study of 18 state Medicaid programs (N=274 counties, representing 103,967 enrollees with schizophrenia 28,083 of whom received more than 1 mental health hospitalization) using Medicaid administrative and United States Area Health Resource File data from 2005. Medicaid is a federal-state program and major health insurance provider for low income and disabled individuals, and the predominant provider of insurance for individuals with schizophrenia. The Area Health Resource File provides county-level estimates of providers. We first fit a regression model examining the relationship between 30-day mental health readmission and enrollee characteristics (e.g., demographics, substance use disorder [SUD], and general medical comorbidity) from which we created a county-level demographic and comorbidity case-mix adjuster. The case-mix adjuster was included in a second regression model examining the relationship between 30-day readmission and county-level factors: (i) quality (antipsychotic/visit continuity, post-hospital follow-up); (ii) mental health hospitalization (length of stay, admission rates); and (iii) treatment capacity (e.g., population-based estimates of outpatient providers/clinics). We calculated predicted probabilities of readmission for significant patient and county-level variables. RESULTS: Higher county rates of mental health visits within 7-days post-hospitalization were associated with lower readmission probabilities (e.g., county rates of 7-day follow up of 55% versus 85%, readmission predicted probability (PP) [95%CI]=16.1% [15.8%-16.4%] versus 13.3% [12.9%-13.6%]). In contrast, higher county rates of mental health hospitalization were associated with higher readmission probabilities (e.g., country admission rates 10% versus 30%, readmission predicted probability=11.3% [11.0%-11.6%] versus 16.7% [16.4%-17.0%]). Although not our primary focus, enrollee comorbidity was associated with higher predicted probability of 30-day mental health readmission: PP [95%CI] for enrollees with SUD=23.9% [21.5%-26.3%] versus 14.7% [13.9%-15.4%] for those without; PP [95% CI] for those with=three chronic medical conditions=25.1% [22.1%-28.2%] versus none=17.7% [16.3%-19.1]. DISCUSSION: County rates of hospitalization and 7-day follow-up post hospital discharge were associated with readmission, along with patient SUD and general medical comorbidity. This observational design limits causal inference and utilization patterns may have changed since 2005. However, overall funding for U.S. Medicaid programs remained constant since 2005, reducing the likelihood significant changes. Last, our inability to identify community capacity variables associated with readmission may reflect imprecision of some variables as measured in the Area Health Resource File. IMPLICATIONS FOR HEALTH CARE PROVISION AND USE AND FOR HEALTH POLICIES: Healthcare policy and programming to reduce 30-day mental health readmissions should focus on county-level factors that contribute to hospitalization in general and improving transitions to community care, as well as patient comorbidity. IMPLICATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH: Given the likely importance of local care systems, to reduce readmission future research is needed to refine community-level capacity variables that are associated with reduced readmissions; and to evaluate models of care coordination in this population.
Kumar Dharmarajan, Angela F Hsieh, Vivek T Kulkarni, Zhenqiu Lin, Joseph S Ross, Leora I Horwitz, Nancy Kim, Lisa G Suter, Haiqun Lin, Sharon-Lise T Normand, and Harlan M Krumholz. 2015. “Trajectories of risk after hospitalization for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, or pneumonia: retrospective cohort study.” BMJ, 350, Pp. h411.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To characterize the absolute risks for older patients of readmission to hospital and death in the year after hospitalization for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, or pneumonia. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: 4767 hospitals caring for Medicare fee for service beneficiaries in the United States, 2008-10. PARTICIPANTS: More than 3 million Medicare fee for service beneficiaries, aged 65 years or more, surviving hospitalization for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, or pneumonia. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Daily absolute risks of first readmission to hospital and death for one year after discharge. To illustrate risk trajectories, we identified the time required for risks of readmission to hospital and death to decline 50% from maximum values after discharge; the time required for risks to approach plateau periods of minimal day to day change, defined as 95% reductions in daily changes in risk from maximum daily declines after discharge; and the extent to which risks are higher among patients recently discharged from hospital compared with the general elderly population. RESULTS: Within one year of hospital discharge, readmission to hospital and death, respectively, occurred following 67.4% and 35.8% of hospitalizations for heart failure, 49.9% and 25.1% for acute myocardial infarction, and 55.6% and 31.1% for pneumonia. Risk of first readmission had declined 50% by day 38 after hospitalization for heart failure, day 13 after hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction, and day 25 after hospitalization for pneumonia; risk of death declined 50% by day 11, 6, and 10, respectively. Daily change in risk of first readmission to hospital declined 95% by day 45, 38, and 45; daily change in risk of death declined 95% by day 21, 19, and 21. After hospitalization for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, or pneumonia, the magnitude of the relative risk for hospital admission over the first 90 days was 8, 6, and 6 times greater than that of the general older population; the relative risk of death was 11, 8, and 10 times greater. CONCLUSIONS: Risk declines slowly for older patients after hospitalization for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, or pneumonia and is increased for months. Specific risk trajectories vary by discharge diagnosis and outcome. Patients should remain vigilant for deterioration in health for an extended time after discharge. Health providers can use knowledge of absolute risks and their changes over time to better align interventions designed to reduce adverse outcomes after discharge with the highest risk periods for patients.
Joseph G Akar, Haikun Bao, Paul W Jones, Yongfei Wang, Paul D Varosy, Frederick A Masoudi, Kenneth M Stein, Leslie A Saxon, Sharon-Lise T Normand, and Jeptha P Curtis. 2015. “Use of Remote Monitoring Is Associated With Lower Risk of Adverse Outcomes Among Patients With Implanted Cardiac Defibrillators.” Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol, 8, 5, Pp. 1173-80.Abstract
BACKGROUND: We examined the association between the use of remote patient monitoring (RPM) of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) and all-cause mortality and rehospitalization among patients undergoing initial ICD implant. METHODS AND RESULTS: A limited data set was constructed from Boston Scientific ALTITUDE Registry and National Cardiovascular Data Registry ICD Registry between January 2006 and March 2010. Vital status was determined using the Social Security Death Master File. All-cause mortality up to 3 years was compared in patients who used RPM with those who did not use RPM. Time-dependent frailty Cox models quantified the association between RPM use and all-cause mortality. Analyses were repeated in subgroups based on age, sex, race, ICD type, indication, and cardiomyopathy pathogenesis. Similar methodology examined the association between RPM use and all-cause rehospitalization in patients enrolled in Medicare fee-for-service patients ≥65 years. The study cohort (n=37,742, age 67±13, 72% male) had a 3-year mortality of 20.9% (median follow-up 832 days). In multivariable analyses, patients using RPM (n=22,023, 58%) had lower risk of mortality compared with those not using RPM (hazard ratio 0.67, 95% confidence interval 0.64-0.71, P<0.0001). The 3-year all-cause rehospitalization rate in the Medicare population (n=15,254) was 69.3% (median follow-up 922 days). Risk of rehospitalization of patients using RPM (n=9150, 60%) was lower than those not using RPM (hazard ratio 0.82, 95% confidence interval 0.80-0.84, P<0.0001). Findings were consistent across subgroups. CONCLUSIONS: Among patients undergoing initial ICD implant, RPM use is associated with significantly lower risk of adverse outcomes.
David M Shahian and Sharon-Lise T Normand. 2015. “What is a performance outlier?” BMJ Qual Saf, 24, 2, Pp. 95-9.
Marcela Horvitz-Lennon, Rita Volya, Rachel Garfield, Julie M Donohue, Judith R Lave, and Sharon-Lise T Normand. 2015. “Where You Live Matters: Quality and Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Schizophrenia Care in Four State Medicaid Programs.” Health Serv Res, 50, 5, Pp. 1710-29.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether (a) quality in schizophrenia care varies by race/ethnicity and over time and (b) these patterns differ across counties within states. DATA SOURCES: Medicaid claims data from California, Florida, New York, and North Carolina during 2002-2008. STUDY DESIGN: We studied black, Latino, and white Medicaid beneficiaries with schizophrenia. Hierarchical regression models, by state, quantified person and county effects of race/ethnicity and year on a composite quality measure, adjusting for person-level characteristics. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Overall, our cohort included 164,014 person-years (41-61 percent non-whites), corresponding to 98,400 beneficiaries. Relative to whites, quality was lower for blacks in every state and also lower for Latinos except in North Carolina. Temporal improvements were observed in California and North Carolina only. Within each state, counties differed in quality and disparities. Between-county variation in the black disparity was larger than between-county variation in the Latino disparity in California, and smaller in North Carolina; Latino disparities did not vary by county in Florida. In every state, counties differed in annual changes in quality; by 2008, no county had narrowed the initial disparities. CONCLUSIONS: For Medicaid beneficiaries living in the same state, quality and disparities in schizophrenia care are influenced by county of residence for reasons beyond patients' characteristics.
2014
Yulei He, Frederic Selck, and Sharon-Lise T Normand. 2014. “On the accuracy of classifying hospitals on their performance measures.” Stat Med, 33, 7, Pp. 1081-103.Abstract
The evaluation, comparison, and public report of health care provider performance is essential to improving the quality of health care. Hospitals, as one type of provider, are often classified into quality tiers (e.g., top or suboptimal) based on their performance data for various purposes. However, potential misclassification might lead to detrimental effects for both consumers and payers. Although such risk has been highlighted by applied health services researchers, a systematic investigation of statistical approaches has been lacking. We assess and compare the expected accuracy of several commonly used classification methods: unadjusted hospital-level averages, shrinkage estimators under a random-effects model accommodating between-hospital variation, and two others based on posterior probabilities. Assuming that performance data follow a classic one-way random-effects model with unequal sample size per hospital, we derive accuracy formulae for these classification approaches and gain insight into how the misclassification might be affected by various factors such as reliability of the data, hospital-level sample size distribution, and cutoff values between quality tiers. The case of binary performance data is also explored using Monte Carlo simulation strategies. We apply the methods to real data and discuss the practical implications.
Thomas G McGuire, Joseph P Newhouse, Sharon-Lise Normand, Julie Shi, and Samuel Zuvekas. 2014. “Assessing incentives for service-level selection in private health insurance exchanges.” J Health Econ, 35, Pp. 47-63.Abstract
Even with open enrollment and mandated purchase, incentives created by adverse selection may undermine the efficiency of service offerings by plans in the new health insurance Exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. Using data on persons likely to participate in Exchanges drawn from five waves of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we measure plan incentives in two ways. First, we construct predictive ratios, improving on current methods by taking into account the role of premiums in financing plans. Second, relying on an explicit model of plan profit maximization, we measure incentives based on the predictability and predictiveness of various medical diagnoses. Among the chronic diseases studied, plans have the greatest incentive to skimp on care for cancer, and mental health and substance abuse.
Jason H Wasfy, Jordan B Strom, Cashel O'Brien, Adrian H Zai, Jennifer Luttrell, Kevin F Kennedy, John A Spertus, Katya Zelevinsky, Sharon-Lise T Normand, Laura Mauri, and Robert W Yeh. 2014. “Causes of short-term readmission after percutaneous coronary intervention.” Circ Cardiovasc Interv, 7, 1, Pp. 97-103.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Rehospitalization within 30 days after an admission for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is common, costly, and a future target for Medicare penalties. Causes of readmission after PCI are largely unknown. METHODS AND RESULTS: To illuminate the causes of PCI readmissions, patients with PCI readmitted within 30 days of discharge between 2007 and 2011 at 2 hospitals were identified, and their medical records were reviewed. Of 9288 PCIs, 9081 (97.8%) were alive at the end of the index hospitalization. Of these, 893 patients (9.8%) were readmitted within 30 days of discharge and included in the analysis. Among readmitted patients, 341 patients (38.1%) were readmitted for evaluation of recurrent chest pain or other symptoms concerning for angina, whereas 59 patients (6.6%) were readmitted for staged PCI without new symptoms. Complications of PCI accounted for 60 readmissions (6.7%). For cases in which chest pain or other symptoms concerning for angina prompted the readmission, 21 patients (6.2%) met criteria for myocardial infarction, and repeat PCI was performed in 54 patients (15.8%). The majority of chest pain patients (288; 84.4%) underwent ≥1 diagnostic imaging test, most commonly coronary angiography, and only 9 (2.6%) underwent target lesion revascularization. CONCLUSIONS: After PCI, readmissions within 30 days were seldom related to PCI complications but often for recurrent chest pain. Readmissions with recurrent chest pain infrequently met criteria for myocardial infarction but were associated with high rates of diagnostic testing.
Jason H Wasfy, Jordan B Strom, Stephen W Waldo, Cashel O'Brien, Neil J Wimmer, Adrian H Zai, Jennifer Luttrell, John A Spertus, Kevin F Kennedy, Sharon-Lise T Normand, Laura Mauri, and Robert W Yeh. 2014. “Clinical preventability of 30-day readmission after percutaneous coronary intervention.” J Am Heart Assoc, 3, 5, Pp. e001290.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Early readmission after PCI is an important contributor to healthcare expenditures and a target for performance measurement. The extent to which 30-day readmissions after PCI are preventable is unknown yet essential to minimizing their occurrence. METHODS AND RESULTS: PCI patients readmitted to hospital at which PCI was performed within 30 days of discharge at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital were identified, and their medical records were independently reviewed by 2 physicians. Each reviewer used an ordinal scale (0, not; 1, possibly; 2, probably; and 3, definitely preventable) to rate clinical preventability, and a total sum score ≥2 was considered preventable. Characteristics of preventable and unpreventable readmissions were compared, and predictors of clinical preventability were assessed by using multivariate logistic regression. Of 9288 PCIs performed, 9081 (97.8%) patients survived to initial hospital discharge and 1007 (11.1%) were readmitted to the index hospital within 30 days. After excluding repeat readmissions, 893 readmissions were reviewed. Fair agreement between physician reviewers was observed (weighted κ statistic 0.44 [95% CI 0.39 to 0.49]). After aggregation of scores, 380 (42.6%) readmissions were deemed preventable and 513 (57.4%) were deemed not preventable. Common causes of preventable readmissions included staged PCI without new symptoms (14.7%), vascular/bleeding complications of PCI (10.0%), and congestive heart failure (9.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Nearly half of 30-day readmissions after PCI may have been prevented by changes in clinical decision-making. Focusing on these readmissions may reduce readmission rates.

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