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      Rates and predictors of general practitioner (GP) follow-up postdischarge from a tertiary hospital cardiology unit: a retrospective cohort study

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          Previous studies in cardiac patients noted that early patient follow-up with general practitioners (GPs) after hospital discharge was associated with reduced rates of hospital readmissions. We aimed to identify patient, clinical and hospital factors that may influence GP follow-up of patients discharged from a tertiary cardiology unit.


          Single centre retrospective cohort study.


          Australian metropolitan tertiary hospital cardiology unit.


          1079 patients discharged from the hospital cardiology unit within 3 months from May to July 2016.

          Outcome measures

          GP follow-up rates (assessed by telephone communication with patients’ nominated GP practices), demographic, clinical and hospital factors predicting GP follow-up.


          We obtained GP follow-up data on 983 out of 1079 (91.1%) discharges in the study period. Overall, 7, 14 and 30-day GP follow rates were 50.3%, 66.5% and 79.1%, respectively. A number of patient, clinical and hospital factors were associated with early GP follow-up, including pacemaker and defibrillator implantation, older age and having never smoked. Documented recommendation for follow-up in discharge summary was the strongest predictor for 7-day follow-up (p<0.001).


          After discharge from a cardiology admission, half of the patients followed up with their GP within 7 days and most patients followed up within 30 days. Patient and hospital factors were associated with GP follow-up rates. Identification of these factors may facilitate prospective interventions to improve early GP follow-up rates.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Effect of discharge summary availability during post-discharge visits on hospital readmission.

          To determine if the delivery of hospital discharge summaries to follow-up physicians decreases the risk of hospital readmission. Eight hundred eighty-eight patients discharged from a single hospital following treatment for an acute medical illness. Teaching hospital in a universal health-care system. We determined the date that each patient's discharge summary was printed and the physicians to whom it was sent. Summary receipt was confirmed by survey and phoning each physician's office. Each patient's hospital chart was reviewed to determine their acute and chronic medical conditions as well as their course in hospital. Using population-based administrative databases, all post-hospitalization visits were identified. For each of these visits, we determined whether the summary was available. Time to nonelective hospital readmission during 3 months following discharge. The discharge summary was available for only 568 of 4,639 outpatient visits (12.2%). Overall, 240 (27.0%) of patients were urgently readmitted to hospital. After adjusting for significant patient and hospitalization factors, we found a trend toward a decreased risk of readmission for patients who were seen in follow-up by a physician who had received a summary (relative risk 0.74, 95% confidence interval 0.50 to 1.11). The risk of rehospitalization may decrease when patients are assessed following discharge by physicians who have received the discharge summary. Further research is required to determine if better continuity of patient information improves patient outcomes.
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            Mortality after acute myocardial infarction in hospitals that disproportionately treat black patients.

            African Americans are more likely to be seen by physicians with less clinical training or to be treated at hospitals with longer average times to acute reperfusion therapies. Less is known about differences in health outcomes. This report compares risk-adjusted mortality after acute myocardial infarction (AMI) between US hospitals with high and low fractions of elderly black AMI patients. A prospective cohort study was performed for fee-for-service Medicare patients hospitalized for AMI during 1997 to 2001 (n=1,136,736). Hospitals (n=4289) were classified into approximate deciles depending on the extent to which the hospital served the black population. Decile 1 (12.5% of AMI patients) included hospitals without any black AMI admissions during 1997 to 2001. Decile 10 (10% of AMI patients) included hospitals with the highest fraction of black AMI patients (33.6%). The main outcome measures were 90-day and 30-day mortality after AMI. Patients admitted to hospitals disproportionately serving blacks experienced no greater level of morbidities or severity of the infarction, yet hospitals in decile 10 experienced a risk-adjusted 90-day mortality rate of 23.7% (95% CI 23.2% to 24.2%) compared with 20.1% (95% CI 19.7% to 20.4%) in decile 1 hospitals. Differences in outcomes between hospitals were not explained by income, hospital ownership status, hospital volume, census region, urban status, or hospital surgical treatment intensity. Risk-adjusted mortality after AMI is significantly higher in US hospitals that disproportionately serve blacks. A reduction in overall mortality at these hospitals could dramatically reduce black-white disparities in healthcare outcomes.
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              Impact of specialist follow-up in outpatients with congestive heart failure.

              There is uncertainty about whether physician specialty influences the outcomes of outpatients with congestive heart failure after adjustment for differences in case mix. Our objective was to determine the impact of physician specialty on outcomes in outpatients with new-onset congestive heart failure. The study was a population-based retrospective cohort study involving patients with new-onset congestive heart failure discharged from 128 acute care hospitals in Alberta between Apr. 1, 1998, and July 1, 2000. Outcomes were resource utilization (clinic visits, emergency department visits and hospital admissions) and survival at 30 days and 1 year. A total of 3136 patients were discharged from hospital with a new diagnosis of congestive heart failure (median age 76 years, 50% men). Of these, 1062 (34%) received no follow-up visits for cardiovascular care, 738 (24%) were seen by a family physician (FP) alone, 29 (1%) by a specialist (cardiologist or general internist) alone and 1307 (42%) by both a specialist and an FP. Compared with patients who received no follow-up cardiovascular care, patients who received regular cardiovascular follow-up visits with a physician had fewer visits to the emergency department (38% v. 80%), fewer were admitted to hospital (13% v. 94%), and the adjusted 1-year mortality was lower (22% v. 37%) (all p < 0.001). Compared with patients who received combined specialist and FP care, patients cared for exclusively by FPs had fewer outpatient visits (median 9 v. 17 in the first year), fewer of these patients presented to the emergency department (24% v. 45% in the first year), and fewer were readmitted for cardiovascular care (7% v. 16%) (all p < 0.001). However, the adjusted mortality at 1 year was lower among patients treated with combined care (17% v. 28%, p < 0.001) despite a higher burden of comorbidities. In a multivariate model adjusting for comorbidities (with no cardiovascular follow-up visits as the reference category), the mortality was lower among patients followed on an outpatient basis by an FP alone (odds ratio [OR] 0.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.53-0.82) or by an FP and a specialist (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.28-0.42). In a proportional hazards model with time-dependent covariates (with adjustment for frequency of follow-up visits), the risk of all-cause mortality was reduced significantly (hazard ratio 0.98, 95% CI 0.97- 0.99) with each specialist visit compared with FP care alone. Patients with congestive heart failure followed by both specialists and FPs had significantly better survival than those followed by FPs alone (or those who received no specific cardiovascular follow-up care). Methods to improve timely and appropriate access to specialists and to improve collaborative care structures are needed.

                Author and article information

                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                30 October 2019
                : 9
                : 10
                [1 ] departmentFaculty of Medicine , University of Queensland , Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
                [2 ] departmentDepartment of Cardiology , Princess Alexandra Hospital , Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Dr William Y S Wang; william.wang@ 123456uq.edu.au
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

                Cardiovascular Medicine
                Original Research
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