Academic hospitals have better cancer patient outcomes

Contrary to some previous research, academic hospitals have better outcomes than non-teaching hospitals--at least for prostate cancer patients who undergo radical prostatectomy, according to a first-of-its-kind study in the current issue of the Journal of Urology.

After examining Health & Human Services data on roughly 90,000 radical prostatectomies (RP) performed between 2001 and 2007, researchers found that patients who had RP surgery at academic institutions had fewer post-surgery complications, fewer blood transfusions, and shorter hospital stays.

The better outcomes were attributed to certain fundamental characteristics of teaching hospitals, such as how most offer more subspecialties and every level of clinical decision-making is subjected to peer review. Yet lead author Dr. Quoc-Dien Trinh, a fellow at Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital's Vattikuti Urology Institute, notes that choosing an academic institution does not ensure better care, according to a press release yesterday.

In fact, prior studies suggested that teaching hospitals have worse results, evidenced by their absence from the Joint Commission's top-performers list in September. However, the teaching hospitals defended their delivery of care, noting they deal with higher volumes of high-risk patients and therefore can have poorer outcomes, as previously noted by FierceHealthcare.

For more information:
- read the press release
- here's the study abstract