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Am J Public Health. 1990 Sep;80(9):1095-100.

Teaching status and resource use for patients with acute myocardial infarction: a new look at the indirect costs of graduate medical education.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.


To investigate whether the process of graduate medical education increases costs in teaching hospitals by causing longer lengths of stay and greater resource use, we compared lengths of stay, hospital charges, and the use of cardiovascular procedures for patients with acute myocardial infarction admitted to the teaching and nonteaching services of a university-affiliated community hospital. After adjusting for severity of illness and demographic characteristics, patients on the teaching services had a mean length of stay that was shorter by 0.6 days (p = 0.04) and mean charges that were $2,060 lower (p = 0.15) than for patients on the nonteaching service. Patients on the teaching service also had 15 percent (95% CI: -26, -4) fewer cardiac catheterizations and 9 percent (-18, 0) fewer procedures for myocardial revascularization (angioplasty or cardiac bypass surgery). These findings suggest that graduate medical education per se may not directly increase the use of health care resources and that the cost differences between teaching and nonteaching hospitals may be largely a consequence of other factors. These factors may include epiphenomena of teaching such as a specialized organizational structure, specialized patient care services, and continuing medical education for the nursing and medical staffs. They may also include factors not related to teaching such as differences in patients' severity of illness and sociodemographic characteristics.

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