Publications by authors named "Tamara Wallington"

10 Publications

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Simplification of the HOSPITAL score for predicting 30-day readmissions.

BMJ Qual Saf 2017 Oct 17;26(10):799-805. Epub 2017 Apr 17.

Department of General Internal Medicine, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Objective: The HOSPITAL score has been widely validated and accurately identifies high-risk patients who may mostly benefit from transition care interventions. Although this score is easy to use, it has the potential to be simplified without impacting its performance. We aimed to validate a simplified version of the HOSPITAL score for predicting patients likely to be readmitted.

Design And Setting: Retrospective study in 9 large hospitals across 4 countries, from January through December 2011.

Participants: We included all consecutively discharged medical patients. We excluded patients who died before discharge or were transferred to another acute care facility.

Measurements: The primary outcome was any 30-day potentially avoidable readmission. We simplified the score as follows: (1) 'discharge from an oncology division' was replaced by 'cancer diagnosis or discharge from an oncology division'; (2) 'any procedure' was left out; (3) patients were categorised into two risk groups (unlikely and likely to be readmitted). The performance of the simplified HOSPITAL score was evaluated according to its overall accuracy, its discriminatory power and its calibration.

Results: Thirty-day potentially avoidable readmission rate was 9.7% (n=11 307/117 065 patients discharged). Median of the simplified HOSPITAL score was 3 points (IQR 2-5). Overall accuracy was very good with a Brier score of 0.08 and discriminatory power remained good with a C-statistic of 0.69 (95% CI 0.68 to 0.69). The calibration was excellent when comparing the expected with the observed risk in the two risk categories.

Conclusions: The simplified HOSPITAL score has good performance for predicting 30-day readmission. Prognostic accuracy was similar to the original version, while its use is even easier. This simplified score may provide a good alternative to the original score depending on the setting.
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October 2017

International Validity of the HOSPITAL Score to Predict 30-Day Potentially Avoidable Hospital Readmissions.

JAMA Intern Med 2016 Apr;176(4):496-502

Division of General Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts3Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Importance: Identification of patients at a high risk of potentially avoidable readmission allows hospitals to efficiently direct additional care transitions services to the patients most likely to benefit.

Objective: To externally validate the HOSPITAL score in an international multicenter study to assess its generalizability.

Design, Setting, And Participants: International retrospective cohort study of 117 065 adult patients consecutively discharged alive from the medical department of 9 large hospitals across 4 different countries between January 2011 and December 2011. Patients transferred to another acute care facility were excluded.

Exposures: The HOSPITAL score includes the following predictors at discharge: hemoglobin, discharge from an oncology service, sodium level, procedure during the index admission, index type of admission (urgent), number of admissions during the last 12 months, and length of stay.

Main Outcomes And Measures: 30-day potentially avoidable readmission to the index hospital using the SQLape algorithm.

Results: Overall, 117 065 adults consecutively discharged alive from a medical department between January 2011 and December 2011 were studied. Of all medical discharges, 16 992 of 117 065 (14.5%) were followed by a 30-day readmission, and 11 307 (9.7%) were followed by a 30-day potentially avoidable readmission. The discriminatory power of the HOSPITAL score to predict potentially avoidable readmission was good, with a C statistic of 0.72 (95% CI, 0.72-0.72). As in the derivation study, patients were classified into 3 risk categories: low (n = 73 031 [62.4%]), intermediate (n = 27 612 [23.6%]), and high risk (n = 16 422 [14.0%]). The estimated proportions of potentially avoidable readmission for each risk category matched the observed proportion, resulting in an excellent calibration (Pearson χ2 test P = .89).

Conclusions And Relevance: The HOSPITAL score identified patients at high risk of 30-day potentially avoidable readmission with moderately high discrimination and excellent calibration when applied to a large international multicenter cohort of medical patients. This score has the potential to easily identify patients in need of more intensive transitional care interventions to prevent avoidable hospital readmissions.
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April 2016

Case study of physician leaders in quality and patient safety, and the development of a physician leadership network.

Healthc Q 2010 ;13 Spec No:68-73

Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario.

There is increasing recognition of the need for physician leadership in quality and patient safety, and emerging evidence that physician leadership contributes to improved care. Hospitals are beginning to establish physician leader positions; however, there is little guidance on how to define these roles and the strategies physician leaders can use toward improving care. This case study examines the roles of four physician leaders, describes their contribution to the design and implementation of hospital quality and patient safety agendas and discusses the creation of a physician network to support these activities. The positions were established between July 2006 and April 2009. All are corporate roles with varying reporting and accountability structures. The physician leads are involved in strategic planning, identifying and leading quality and safety initiatives, physician engagement and culture change. All have significantly contributed to the implementation of hospital improvement activities and are seen as influential among their peers as resources and mentors for local project success. Despite their accomplishments, these physician leads have been challenged by ambiguous role descriptions and difficulty identifying effective improvement strategies. As such, an expanding physician network was created with the goal of sharing approaches and tools and creating new strategies. Physician leaders are an important factor in the improvement of safety and quality within hospitals. This case study provides a template for the creation of such positions and highlights the importance of networking as an effective strategy for improving local care and advancing professional development of physician leaders in quality and patient safety.
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February 2011

The impact of physician training and experience on the survival of patients with active tuberculosis.

CMAJ 2006 Sep;175(7):749-53

Centre for Research on Inner City Health and the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.

Background: Physician training and experience may be important factors influencing treatment outcomes of patients with tuberculosis. We conducted an analysis to evaluate physician and patient characteristics and their association with the rate of death among tuberculosis patients.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all reported cases of active tuberculosis in Toronto between July 1, 1999, and June 30, 2002. We obtained extensive clinical data on cases as well as information on the training and clinical experience of treating physicians. We subsequently identified factors associated with patient mortality in a survival analysis.

Results: In a multivariable Cox regression analysis involving 1154 patients, factors associated with all-cause mortality included patient age (in years) (hazard ratio [HR] 1.05, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.04-1.07, p < 0.001), use of directly observed therapy (HR 0.22, CI 0.13-0.39, p < 0.001), receipt of care from a physician experienced with tuberculosis (per case managed per year) (HR 0.98, CI 0.97-0.99; p = 0.01) and admission to hospital during the course of treatment (HR 15.44, CI 7.06-33.76, p < 0.001). Factors that were not associated with patient survival included whether the physician graduated from a foreign medical school, the physician's medical specialty and the number of years in clinical practice.

Interpretation: Physician experience with tuberculosis and use of directly observed therapy positively influenced the survival of patients with active tuberculosis in our setting.
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September 2006

Late recognition of SARS in nosocomial outbreak, Toronto.

Emerg Infect Dis 2005 Feb;11(2):322-5

Public Health Agency of Canada, Room 3444, Building # 6. AL: 0603B, Tunney's Pasture, Ottawa, Ontario K1A OL2, Canada.

Late recognition of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was associated with no known SARS contact, hospitalization before the nosocomial outbreak was recognized, symptom onset while hospitalized, wards with SARS clusters, and postoperative status. SARS is difficult to recognize in hospitalized patients with a variety of underlying conditions in the absence of epidemiologic links.
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February 2005

Antenatal risk factors for postpartum depression: a synthesis of recent literature.

Gen Hosp Psychiatry 2004 Jul-Aug;26(4):289-95

University Health Network, Women's Health Program, 657 University Avenue, Toronto General Hospital, ML 2-004D, Toronto, MG5 2N2 Canada.

Postpartum nonpsychotic depression is the most common complication of childbearing, affecting approximately 10-15% of women and, as such, represents a considerable health problem affecting women and their families. This systematic review provides a synthesis of the recent literature pertaining to antenatal risk factors associated with developing this condition. Databases relating to the medical, psychological, and social science literature were searched using specific inclusion criteria and search terms, in order to identify studies examining antenatal risk factors for postpartum depression. Studies were identified and critically appraised in order to synthesize the current findings. The search resulted in the identification of two major meta-analyses conducted on over 14,000 subjects, as well as newer subsequent large-scale clinical studies. The results of these studies were then summarized in terms of effect sizes as defined by Cohen. The findings from the meta-analyses of over 14,000 subjects, and subsequent studies of nearly 10,000 additional subjects found that the following factors were the strongest predictors of postpartum depression: depression during pregnancy, anxiety during pregnancy, experiencing stressful life events during pregnancy or the early puerperium, low levels of social support, and a previous history of depression. Critical appraisal of the literature revealed a number of methodological and knowledge gaps that need to be addressed in future research. These include examining specific risk factors in women of lower socioeconomic status, risk factors pertaining to teenage mothers, and the use of appropriate instruments assessing postpartum depression for use within different cultural groups.
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October 2004

Hospital preparedness and SARS.

Emerg Infect Dis 2004 May;10(5):771-6

McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

On May 23, 2003, Toronto experienced the second phase of a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak. Ninety cases were confirmed, and >620 potential cases were managed. More than 9,000 persons had contact with confirmed or potential case-patients; many required quarantine. The main hospital involved during the second outbreak was North York General Hospital. We review this hospital's response to, and management of, this outbreak, including such factors as building preparation and engineering, personnel, departmental workload, policies and documentation, infection control, personal protective equipment, training and education, public health, management and administration, follow-up of SARS patients, and psychological and psychosocial management and research. We also make recommendations for other institutions to prepare for future outbreaks, regardless of their origin.
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May 2004

Public health measures to control the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome during the outbreak in Toronto.

N Engl J Med 2004 Jun;350(23):2352-61

Inner City Health Research Unit, Toronto Public Health, Toronto, Canada.

Background: Toronto was the site of North America's largest outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). An understanding of the patterns of transmission and the effects on public health in relation to control measures that were taken will help health officials prepare for any future outbreaks.

Methods: We analyzed SARS case, quarantine, and hotline records in relation to control measures. The two phases of the outbreak were compared.

Results: Toronto Public Health investigated 2132 potential cases of SARS, identified 23,103 contacts of SARS patients as requiring quarantine, and logged 316,615 calls on its SARS hotline. In Toronto, 225 residents met the case definition of SARS, and all but 3 travel-related cases were linked to the index patient, from Hong Kong. SARS spread to 11 (58 percent) of Toronto's acute care hospitals. Unrecognized SARS among in-patients with underlying illness caused a resurgence, or a second phase, of the outbreak, which was finally controlled through active surveillance of hospitalized patients. In response to the control measures of Toronto Public Health, the number of persons who were exposed to SARS in nonhospital and nonhousehold settings dropped from 20 (13 percent) before the control measures were instituted (phase 1) to 0 afterward (phase 2). The number of patients who were exposed while in a hospital ward rose from 25 (17 percent) in phase 1 to 68 (88 percent) in phase 2, and the number exposed while in the intensive care unit dropped from 13 (9 percent) in phase 1 to 0 in phase 2. Community spread (the length of the chains of transmission outside of hospital settings) was significantly reduced in phase 2 of the outbreak (P<0.001).

Conclusions: The transmission of SARS in Toronto was limited primarily to hospitals and to households that had had contact with patients. For every case of SARS, health authorities should expect to quarantine up to 100 contacts of the patients and to investigate 8 possible cases. During an outbreak, active in-hospital surveillance for SARS-like illnesses and heightened infection-control measures are essential.
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June 2004

Possible SARS coronavirus transmission during cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Emerg Infect Dis 2004 Feb;10(2):287-93

Immunodeficiency Clinic, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Infection of healthcare workers with the severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is thought to occur primarily by either contact or large respiratory droplet transmission. However, infrequent healthcare worker infections occurred despite the use of contact and droplet precautions, particularly during certain aerosol-generating medical procedures. We investigated a possible cluster of SARS-CoV infections in healthcare workers who used contact and droplet precautions during attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation of a SARS patient. Unlike previously reported instances of transmission during aerosol-generating procedures, the index case-patient was unresponsive, and the intubation procedure was performed quickly and without difficulty. However, before intubation, the patient was ventilated with a bag-valve-mask that may have contributed to aerosolization of SARS-CoV. On the basis of the results of this investigation and previous reports of SARS transmission during aerosol-generating procedures, a systematic approach to the problem is outlined, including the use of the following: 1) administrative controls, 2) environmental engineering controls, 3) personal protective equipment, and 4) quality control.
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February 2004