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Early intervention by infectious diseases specialists saves lives, reduces costs
Date:9/27/2013

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2013 In a first-of-its-kind study to evaluate the impact of a medical specialty on patient outcomes, researchers found that hospitalized patients with severe infections such as meningitis and Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) are significantly less likely to die if they receive care from an infectious diseases specialist. The study, which analyzed nearly 130,000 Medicare patient cases, is now available online and will be published in the December 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

According to the data, researchers at Avalere Health and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) found that patients treated by infectious diseases (ID) specialists are 9 percent less likely to die in the hospital and 12 percent less likely to die after discharge. When an ID physician is consulted, patients experience an average 3.7 percent fewer days in an intensive care unit. The study also found that consultation with an ID specialist reduces the likelihood patients will be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days.

"Infectious diseases are the second leading cause of death worldwide. In an age where healthcare-acquired infections are linked to payment penalties and bundled payments leave little room for error, the impact of ID physicians is more critical than ever in providing high quality care," said Steven K. Schmitt, MD, FIDSA, chair of the IDSA's Clinical Affairs Committee, an ID physician at Cleveland Clinic and lead author of the study. "As the 'detectives' of the medical world, ID specialists have additional years of training and possess the expertise to quickly identify and treat potentially life-threatening infections."

In the study, researchers looked at a sample of Medicare patients who were hospitalized between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009 and had at least one of 11 serious but commonly treated infections: bacteremia, C. diff., central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), bacterial e
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Contact: Jerica Pitts
jpitts@pcipr.com
312-558-1770
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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