Collaborative care in hospitals tied to stronger outcomes

A new study based on data from more than 7,000 patients found collaborative care models in hospitals are tied to shorter hospital stays and other improved outcomes. 

Researchers say it is the first study to analyze the benefits of a collaborative care model — which includes a team of providers, case managers, social workers, specialists and other clinical staff — in a hospital setting.

"The whole idea when you talk about collaborative care teams is that it's an extra coordination effort for hospitals," Douglas Morrice, PhD, professor in the department of information, risk and operations management at the University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business, said in a news release sent to Becker's. "Is the effort worth it? Our conclusion is that it is well worth it."

To conduct the study, Dr. Morrice and colleagues analyzed data from patients at University Hospital who were discharged between June 2014 and October 2016. Collaborative care was rolled out in the middle of this period, allowing the research team to look at its debut and estimate its effect on length of stay, readmission rates and discharge time of day. Collaborative care teams were associated with a 9% decrease in expected length of stay. 

They also found a 27% increase in the likelihood that a patient would be discharged before 2 p.m., optimizing patient throughput. Surveys were also part of the research and found patients who were cared for by a collaborative care team reported high satisfaction. 

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