Medical Reasons for 'Weekend Effect' Elusive
The AHRQ study did not draw any conclusions from the data about the quality of care provided on weekends versus weekdays in the nation's hospitals because the results were not adjusted for severity of illness. "This report does raise the issue that there could be a 'weekend' effect, but that further study is needed," lead author P. Hannah Davis said at the time. "We can't conclude that there is a weekend effect."
Robert O'Connor, MD, chair of emergency medicine at the University of Virginia and a board member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, told HealthLeaders Media "it's hard to say" whether the weekend effect is real.
"Do I think it exists? It has been reported in a number of disease states from data registries and we need to find out if this is real or not," he says.
"A lot of these studies are retrospective looking at databases that weren't designed to collect data prospectively. While I am very concerned about what they might be showing, I'd be very worried that if there is a difference it is something we would need to identify and correct as a healthcare system."
While lower staffing levels on the weekends might be an obvious hindrance for many medical services, O'Connor says many emergency departments maintain consistent staffing levels throughout the week. He says the findings in the Johns Hopkins study might be more dependent upon how the data was measured.
- CMS Sets 2014 Pay Rates for Hospital Outpatient and Physician Services
- FDA hopes hospitals will switch to newly regulated pharmacies
- The 5 Biggest Healthcare Finance Trouble Spots
- Not-for-Profit Hospitals Find Opportunity Amid Uncertainty
- The Most Polarizing Topics in Healthcare IT
- Nonprofit Hospital Outlook 'Negative' in 2014
- How CPOE Will Make Healthcare Smarter
- Why You Should Involve Patients in Nursing Handoffs
- Are ACOs Really Different from HMOs?
- Rise of the Chief Strategy Officer