During a pandemic, researchers discovered that using a cohort patient care paradigm improved patient outcomes.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School found that grouping patients together in one area or facility during the extenuating circumstances of an emerging pandemic was effective in providing high-quality care and containing infectious patients, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.
This patient care paradigm, known as cohorts, was used by M Health Fairview early in the pandemic when little was known about how to properly manage COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Greg Beilman, a critical care surgeon at the University of Minnesota Medical School and a co-lead of the M Health Fairview COVID-19 response team, said, “This study highlights the academic and clinical expertise of the M Health Fairview system to deliver outstanding medical care to the people of Minnesota.”
“Through this study, we demonstrated our capacity to quickly bring new scientific breakthroughs to patients’ bedsides and enhance outcomes for people suffering from this sometimes fatal disease.”
Because everyone in the cohorts had COVID-19, frontline healthcare staff quickly learned how to care for COVID-19 patients.
These seasoned professionals collaborated with university physicians who were converting cutting-edge medical research into novel solutions that could be applied to patient care in real-time. Patients with COVID-19 had access to cutting-edge clinical trials, in-house COVID-19 diagnostics, and cutting-edge technologies.
When patients were adequately matched for severity of disease, dedicated COVID-19 units in Minnesota were related with a 2% overall improvement in in-hospital survival rates. COVID-19-related complications were much lower in this group, as was the speed with which health care providers implemented new treatment methods.
Dr. Andrew Olson, a medical intensivist at the University of Minnesota Medical School and medical director of COVID hospital medicine at M Health Fairview remarked, “The opportunity to care for patients at our COVID-19 cohort hospitals was a shining light in a dark period for many of us.”
“We saw our coworkers gain skills, undertake research, and care for one another while staying healthy throughout a difficult period.”
When outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as viral pneumonia, the study team aims to use the cohort method. This is because the framework aids in providing the best care to infectious patients during periods of rapid scientific research learning.
“As the epidemic advanced, we had more personal protective equipment and immunizations available, and more health care personnel were familiar with COVID-19 treatment,” Dr. Beilman stated. “These advances, together with the fact that COVID incidence fell last year, meant that this care approach was no longer required.”
Researchers want to learn more about which patients gain the most from such treatment, as well as analyze the experience of individuals who work in such facilities.