Teaching hospitals tied to better patient outcomes at neighboring hospitals

Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers found that the presence of academic medical centers were linked to better outcomes for patients treated at nearby community hospitals.

The study, published Feb. 1 in JAMA Network Open, analyzed more than 22 million hospitalizations of older Medicare beneficiaries who received care from an acute care hospital between 2015 and 2017. Hospitals were divided into four markets depending on the number of academic medical centers — also known as teaching hospitals — in the area.

The study found:

  • Patients who were hospitalized at non-academic medical centers in a market with many ACMs had lower 30- and 90-day mortality and more healthy days at home at 30 and 90 days.

  • Patient outcomes did not improve at academic medical centers when other teaching hospitals were near.

  • The presence of AMCs increased the percentage of patients who were admitted to an AMC, starting from 20 percent in low-AMC presence up to 35 percent for high-AMC presence.

"Taken together, these results suggest a spillover effect of AMCs on outcomes for neighboring community hospitals and that the benefits of AMC for the broader community may be greater than is traditionally recognized," study lead author Laura Burke, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said in a news release.

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