U of M researchers discover cohort patient car

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Posted in NEVER openUniversity of Minnesota Medical School researchers found that, in the mitigating circumstances of an emerging pandemic, clustering patients in one area or facility was successful in providing high-quality care and containing the infectious patients.

Called a cohort, this model of patient care was implemented by M Health Fairview at the start of the pandemic when little was known about how to effectively treat patients with COVID-19.

“This study highlights the academic and clinical expertise of the M Health Fairview system in providing exceptional medical care to the people of Minnesota,” said Dr. Greg Belman, critical care surgeon at the U of M School of Medicine and co-lead of the M Health Fairview COVID-19 Response Team. “In this study, we demonstrated our ability to rapidly bring new scientific developments to the bedside and improve outcomes for patients affected by this often serious disease.”

Since every person treated in the cohorts had COVID-19, frontline healthcare workers quickly became familiar with COVID-19 care. These experienced specialists worked side-by-side with academic physicians who translated the latest medical research into new solutions that they could apply in real-time to patient care. COVID-19 patients had access to cutting-edge clinical trials, in-house COVID-19 testing capabilities and innovative technology.

The study found that dedicated COVID-19 units in Minnesota were associated with a 2% overall improvement in hospital survival rates when patients were correctly matched for disease severity. Complications associated with COVID-19 were significantly better in this group, as was the rapid implementation of new care processes by healthcare providers.

“The ability to care for patients in our COVID-19 cohort hospitals has been a shining light in a dark time for many of us,” said Dr. Andrew Olson, medical intensivist at the U of M School of Medicine and Medical Director of COVID Hospital Medicine at M Health Fairview. “We have seen our colleagues develop their expertise, conduct research and care for each other while staying healthy in a difficult time.”

The research team hopes that the cohort method can be implemented in the event of an outbreak of infectious diseases, such as viral pneumonia. This is because the framework helps provide infectious patients with the best care during times of rapid learning in scientific research.

“As the pandemic progressed, we had wide availability of personal protective equipment, vaccines, and more healthcare workers became familiar with the treatment of COVID-19,” Dr. Beilman said. “These developments combined with the fact that the incidence of COVID has declined over the past year – this model of care was no longer needed.”

The researchers plan to further study the patients who benefit most from care at these facilities, as well as to assess the experience of the healthcare professionals who work there.

This research was funded by the U of M School of Medicine, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Institute for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Science from the National Institutes of Health. Additional support for MN-LHS fellows is offered by the U of M Office of Academic Clinical Affairs and the School of Public Health.

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About University of Minnesota Medical School
The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and training the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. We recognize that the U of M School of Medicine, both the Twin Cities Campus and the Duluth Campus, is located on the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of the Dakota and Ojibwe, and dozens of other Indigenous peoples, and we affirm our commitment to tribal communities and their sovereignty as we seek to improve and strengthen our relationships with tribal nations. For more information about the U of M School of Medicine, please visit med.umn.edu.


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