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Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Health System say they may have a way to decrease hospitals stays among certain patient populations at a time when certain bacteria are growing increasingly resistant to current antibiotics and the costs of treating infections are increasing.
Researchers say the antibiotic linezolid — trade name Zyvox — has the potential to provide hospitals cost-saving benefits when used to treat infections resistant to most other antibiotics that can extend patients’ length of stay. The drug is the first in a new class of antibiotics that attack bacteria in a way unlike existing therapies, they contend.
The main breakthrough of Zyvox is that it has an oral form that is bio-equivalent with the IV form, says Henry Glick, PhD, an internal medicine researcher in Penn’s department of medicine’s health services research unit, and principal health economics investigator of the study. He says there are very few oral drugs that can be used to switch a patient in that fashion.
"What we see that translating into for patients with skin and soft tissue infections is being able to discharge them substantially earlier than if they require [intravenous administration] IV in the hospital or to be discharged to home IV," says Glick.
In a study published recently in Pharmacotherapy, the researchers compared hospital discharge rates for two groups of patients who were being treated for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, caused by bacteria resistant to all but the most powerful antibiotics. One group of patients received the new antibiotic Zyvox available in IV and tablet forms, and another received the most commonly prescribed antibiotic for treating MRSA infections, vancomycin, which is only available through IV administration. Among patients who completed the study and follow-up tests, a significantly higher proportion of patients treated with Zyvox were discharged from the hospital in their first week of therapy (30%) than the group treated with vancomycin (12%).
Zyvox was approved by the Food and Drug Administration almost a year ago and is the only antibiotic with 100% equivalent IV and oral formulations designed to treat significant hospital-acquired infections.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is jumping on the electronic mail bandwagon and now offers an e-mail service for newsletters, accreditation information, and news releases. An unlimited number of people from a health care organization can sign up for the service, which was created after a recent Joint Commission survey in which nearly 90% of respondents wanted to receive information by electronic mail.
Among the items offered to participants:
Subscribers also may ask for information about any of the commission’s accreditation programs, including notices about standards, field reviews, publications, and upcoming education programs. For more information, contact the Joint Commission through its web site at www.jcaho.org.
A program of comprehensive neonatal follow-up care after hospital discharge for inner city high-risk infants reduces life-threatening illnesses and appears to reduce medical costs by more than $3,000 per infant, as well, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2000; 284:2,070-2,076).
Researchers at the University of Texas South-western Medical Center at Dallas found that when high-risk infants received comprehensive follow-up care, 47% fewer of them died or developed life-threatening illnesses that required admission for pediatric intensive care. High-risk infants were defined as those weighing less than 1,000 g at birth or those weighing 1,001 g to 1,500 g who required mechanical ventilation.
Comprehensive follow-up care for high-risk infants was defined as 24-hour access to highly experienced caregivers and five-day-a-week follow-up care, which included well-baby care, treatment for acute and chronic illnesses, and routine follow-up care. Routine follow-up care was available two days per week and included well-baby care and chronic illness management.
For care between discharge and one year, the estimated average cost per infant was $6,265 for comprehensive care and $9,913 for routine care.