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Critical Care in England Now More Cost-Effective

Study finds interventions since 2000 have substantially improved services

FRIDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Interventions aimed at enhancing critical care services in England implemented since 2000 have resulted in substantial and highly cost-effective improvements, according to a study published online Nov. 11 in BMJ.

Andrew Hutchings, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues conducted time-series and cost-effectiveness analysis of service delivery at 96 critical care units in England. They looked at 349,817 admissions to assess the impact of increases in capacity and the adoption of a series of modernization measures.

From 2000 to 2006, there was an 11.3 percent drop in unit mortality and a 13.4 percent drop in hospital mortality compared to the preceding three years, as well as a significant reduction in unplanned night discharges and transfers between units, the researchers found. The improvements were also cost-effective, the investigators discovered, with the mean annual net monetary benefit increasing from $667 before 2000 to $1,810 in 2006.

"In any time-series analysis the attribution of causality is a challenge. This is particularly so for evaluations of complex interventions at a national level," the authors write. "Whatever the reasons for the improvements, considerable additional expenditure on critical care combined with an explicit centrally driven program of modernization has resulted in dramatic improvements in outcomes."

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