Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Expertise and infrastructure capacity impacts acute coronary syndrome outcomes

Carolyn M. Astley A L , Isuru Ranasinghe B , David Brieger C , Chris J. Ellis D , Julie Redfern E , Tom Briffa F , Bernadette Aliprandi-Costa G , Tegwen Howell E J , Stephen G. Bloomer H , Greg Gamble I , Andrea Driscoll J , Karice K. Hyun E , Chris J. Hammett K and Derek P. Chew A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Flinders University, SA 5042, Australia. Email: derek.chew@flinders.edu.au

B University of Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Email: isuru.ranasinghe@sa.gov.au

C University of Sydney, Department of Cardiology, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW 2137, Australia. Email: briegster@gmail.com

D Cardiology Department, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, 1023, New Zealand. Email: ChrisE@adhb.govt.nz

E The George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Email: jredfern@george.org.au; thowell@george.org.au; khyun@georgeinstitute.org.au

F School of Population Health, University of Western Australia, WA 6009, Australia. Email: tom.briffa@uwa.edu.au

G Sydney School of Nursing, University of Sydney, NSW 2050, Australia. Email: bernadette.aliprandi-costa@sydney.edu.au

H Cardiovascular Health Network of Western Australia, Hospital Avenue, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia. Email: stephen.bloomer@health.wa.gov.au

I Department Medicine, University of Auckland, 1023, New Zealand. Email: gd.gamble@auckland.ac.nz

J School of Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University, Vic. 3125, Australia. Email: andrea.driscoll@deakin.edu.au

K Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Qld 4029, Australia. Email: Christopher_Hammett@health.qld.gov.au

L Corresponding author. Email: carolyn.astley@flinders.edu.au

Australian Health Review - https://doi.org/10.1071/AH16244
Submitted: 31 October 2016  Accepted: 24 February 2017   Published online: 20 April 2017

Abstract

Objective Effective translation of evidence to practice may depend on systems of care characteristics within the health service. The present study evaluated associations between hospital expertise and infrastructure capacity and acute coronary syndrome (ACS) care as part of the SNAPSHOT ACS registry.

Methods A survey collected hospital systems and process data and our analysis developed a score to assess hospital infrastructure and expertise capacity. Patient-level data from a registry of 4387 suspected ACS patients enrolled over a 2-week period were used and associations with guideline care and in-hospital and 6-, 12- and 18-month outcomes were measured.

Results Of 375 participating hospitals, 348 (92.8%) were included in the analysis. Higher expertise was associated with increased coronary angiograms (440/1329; 33.1%), 580/1656 (35.0%) and 609/1402 (43.4%) for low, intermediate and high expertise capacity respectively; P < 0.001) and the prescription of guideline therapies observed a tendency for an association with (531/1329 (40.0%), 733/1656 (44.3%) and 603/1402 (43.0%) for low, intermediate and high expertise capacity respectively; P = 0.056), but not rehabilitation (474/1329 (35.7%), 603/1656 (36.4%) and 535/1402 (38.2%) for low, intermediate and high expertise capacity respectively; P = 0.377). Higher expertise capacity was associated with a lower incidence of major adverse events (152/1329 (11.4%), 142/1656 (8.6%) and 149/149 (10.6%) for low, intermediate and high expertise capacity respectively; P = 0.026), as well as adjusted mortality within 18 months (low vs intermediate expertise capacity: odds ratio (OR) 0.79, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.58–1.08, P = 0.153; intermediate vs high expertise capacity: OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.48–0.86, P = 0.003).

Conclusions Both higher-level expertise in decision making and infrastructure capacity are associated with improved evidence translation and survival over 18 months of an ACS event and have clear healthcare design and policy implications.

What is known about the topic? There are comprehensive guidelines for treating ACS patients, but Australia and New Zealand registry data reveal substantial gaps in delivery of best practice care across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote health services, raising questions of equity of access and outcome. Greater mortality and morbidity gains can be achieved by increasing the application of current evidence-based therapies than by developing new therapy innovations. Health service system characteristics may be barriers or enablers to the delivery of best practice care and need to be identified and evaluated for correlations with performance indicators and outcomes in order to improve health service design.

What does this paper add? This study measures two system characteristics, namely expertise and infrastructure, evaluating the relationship with ACS guideline application and clinical outcomes in a large and diverse cohort of Australian and New Zealand hospitals. The study identifies decision-making expertise and infrastructure capacity, to a lesser degree, as enabling characteristics to help improve patient outcomes.

What are the implications for practitioners? In the design of health services to improve access and equity, expertise must be preserved. However, it is difficult to have experienced personnel at the bedside no matter where the health service, and engineering innovative systems and processes of care to facilitate delivery of expertise should be considered.


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