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Following Gastroenteritis Guidelines Can Lower Costs

Study finds outcomes in pediatric patients with uncomplicated acute gastroenteritis do not suffer

TUESDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitals that adhere to guidelines for the management of acute gastroenteritis demonstrate 50 percent lower charges for pediatric patients with uncomplicated acute gastroenteritis, according to a study published online Nov. 2 in Pediatrics.

Joel S. Tieder, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues studied 188,873 children aged 6 months to 6 years with a discharge code indicative of acute gastroenteritis and without comorbid conditions in the hospital, emergency department, or observation setting. Of all the patients, 7.6 percent were admitted and 92.4 percent were not.

The researchers found an association between adherence to acute gastroenteritis guidelines and a mean decrease in the average adjusted cost for non-admitted patients from $591 to $295. The authors also note that it is common for pediatric hospitals to use resources that are not routinely recommended by published acute gastroenteritis guidelines.

"Adherence to published guideline recommendations for laboratory testing in patients with uncomplicated acute gastroenteritis is associated with less expensive care without adverse effects on patient outcomes. Hospitals striving to improve the quality of care for acute gastroenteritis may use these data to benchmark their quality improvement efforts," Tieder and colleagues conclude.

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