Science & Research

Science & Research Roundup: Nov. 3, 2016

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News Editor
Thursday, November 3, 2016

Validating readmission as a metric for quality care

A comprehensive statistical study in the Health Services Research journal led by Momoatzur Rahman, assistant professor of health services, policy and practice at the School of Public Health, validates the U.S. government’s inclusion of hospital readmission as a measure to evaluate the effectiveness of skilled nursing facilities. Recently, the federal government has included a “historical track record of 30-day hospital readmissions in its ratings of care quality” for every facility featured on its website, according to a University press release.

For the study, researchers aimed to pinpoint correlations between low hospital readmission rates and lower future readmission rates to assess quality of care and eliminate other variables such as a hospital’s receiving healthier patients. Four years of Medicare data were used to determine the readmission rate for over 14,000 facilities and compare treatment at low-readmission facilities and high-readmission facilities. The researchers found that factors such as distance between the skilled nursing facilities and the patient’s home and the number of available beds were “strong predictors” of hospital readmission, according to the press release.

According to the study, the chances of readmission increase by 8 percentage points if a patient goes to a facility with a readmission rate of 25 percent versus a facility with a 15 percent readmission rate. Ultimately, the authors concluded that readmission has nothing to do with the health of patients who go to certain skilled nursing facilities but instead relates to the quality of facilities themselves.

The rebirth of China’s medical education

Nan Du MD’16 and Eli Adashi, professor of medical science, co-authored an extensive review of the past 100 years of China’s medical education system, according to a University press release.

The researchers reviewed 794 records and health and education surveillance systems, such as the National Bureau of Statistics of China and the World Health Organization, to study the rapid rebuilding of the medical education system after the Cultural Revolution and its effect on the future of medical education in the country.

Though medical education in China had grown since the country’s first medical school opened in 1886, progress was stifled and destroyed during the Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976 when nearly all medical schools were shut down. After the Cultural Revolution, the country began to rebuild its medical education system, which has been a relative success. Now, there are more than 2.1 million practicing physicians and 167 civilian medical schools in the country.

“They had to go from zero to 60 in three seconds,” Adashi said in the press release.

Today, China is struggling with creating consistency in its residency programs. The standard of evaluation for residents varies by region as there is no nationwide standard, according to the review. With the country’s growing and aging population, medical education will “remain a prominent national policy topic in China” for many years to come, the authors wrote in the review.

The story behind the Moon’s bullseye

A team of researchers has revealed how the rings on the moon, known as the Moon’s Orientale basin, formed 3.8 billion years ago in a study published in the journal Science. The team, headed by Maria Zuber ScM’83 PhD’86 ScD’08, used data from the National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission to create the first computer model of the rings. The researchers found that once the crater hit, “warm and ductile rocks in the subsurface flowed inward toward the impact point,” creating the ripples, according to a University press release.

Scientists hope studying the impact can offer scientists a better understanding of the early development of Earth, the Moon and Mars. “Big impacts like the one that formed Orientale were the most important drivers of change on planetary crusts in the early solar system,” said Brandon Johnson, assistant professor of earth, environmental and planetary sciences.

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