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JAMA. 1990 Aug 22-29;264(8):992-7.

Length of stay in the intensive care unit. Effects of practice guidelines and feedback.

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Medical Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.


We developed consensus management guidelines for patients admitted with chest pain, pulmonary edema, and syncope and used these guidelines to examine practice variation and the effects of physician feedback on decision making in 1145 consecutive admissions to three medical intensive care units. Data collection included a 6-month baseline period and two 6-month physician feedback periods. Hospital length of stay fell from 8.34 days to 7.41 and 7.14 days during feedback; intensive care unit length of stay fell from 2.45 days to 2.23 and 2.07 days. Feedback was associated with an increase in the percentage of patients conforming to the management guidelines. Multiple linear regression showed that feedback correlated with reductions of 0.79 days (confidence interval, 0.12 to 1.46) in hospital length of stay and 0.21 days (confidence interval 0.05 to 0.37) in intensive care unit length of stay. This effect was most apparent in patients not requiring any intervention, but with a major complication. During the 6-month follow-up, mortality, readmission, and urgent readmission rates were similar for patients admitted in baseline and feedback periods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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