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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Computerized clinical knowledge mana-gement systems hold enormous potential for improving quality and efficiency. However, their impact on clinical practice is not well known.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the impact of UpToDate on outcomes of care.

DESIGN:

Retrospective study.

SETTING:

National sample of US inpatient hospitals.

PATIENTS:

Fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries.

INTERVENTION:

Adoption of UpToDate in US hospitals.

MEASUREMENT:

Risk-adjusted lengths of stay, mortality rates, and quality performance.

RESULTS:

We found that patients admitted to hospitals using UpToDate had shorter lengths of stay than patients admitted to non-UpToDate hospitals overall (5.6 days vs 5.7 days; P < 0.001) and among 6 prespecified conditions (range, −0.1 to −0.3 days; P < 0.001 for each). Further, patients admitted to UpToDate hospitals had lower risk-adjusted mortality rate for 3 of the 6 conditions (range, −0.1% to −0.6% mortality reduction; P < 0.05). Finally, hospitals with UpToDate had better quality performance for every condition on the Hospital Quality Alliance metrics. In subgroup analyses, we found that it was the smaller hospitals and the non-teaching hospitals where the benefits of the UpToDate seemed most pronounced, compared to the larger, teaching institutions where the benefits of UpToDate seemed small or nonexistent.

CONCLUSIONS:

We found a very small but consistent association between use of UpToDate and reduced length of stay, lower risk-adjusted mortality rates, and better quality performance, at least in the smaller, non-teaching institutions. These findings may suggest that computerized tools such as UpToDate could be helpful in improving care. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2012. © 2011 Society of Hospital Medicine.