News and Publications

Hospital-acquired anemia more common, increases risks

May 17, 2017 – One in three patients hospitalized for medical problems experienced a drop in their red blood cell count due to the hospitalization – a concept called hospital-acquired anemia, new research showed.

Moreover, the worse the hospital-acquired anemia – or the more blood lost – the higher the risk of death or readmission, even after adjusting for other important factors, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers reported in a study involving 11,000 patients cared for in six hospitals.

Listen to Anil Makam, M.D., M.A.S. explaining the findings of a recent UTSW PCOR Center publication on hospital-acquired anemia in an interview on KERA radio on June 5, 2107.

Researchers urge use of evidence-based medicine to avoid overtreatment of type 2 diabetes

January 31, 2017 – UT Southwestern Medical Center research supports an evidence-based medicine (EBM) approach that embraces individualized care to prevent overtreatment, specifically for patients with type 2 diabetes.

This recommended strategy is outlined in a review article published recently in Circulation.

“Evidence-based medicine is a powerful tool to provide person-centered care to individuals with type 2 diabetes, as well as for patients with other diseases,” said Dr. Anil Makam, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the article. “When applied to type 2 diabetes, EBM calls for a paradigm shift in our treatment approach.”

“EBM is often misunderstood as a call for universal, cookie-cutter medicine, which has led to an epidemic of overtreatment in type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Oanh Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Sciences, and senior author of the article. “Instead, EBM is a critical tool in the physician’s arsenal to provide individualized and person-centered care.”

1 in 5 are discharged from hospital with unstable vital signs, and experience higher readmission and death rates

August 9, 2016 – Twenty percent of people hospitalized are released before all vital signs are stable, a pattern that is associated with an increased risk of death and hospital readmission, a new study by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers shows.

As hospital stays have shortened dramatically over the past 30 years, there is increasing concern that patients are being discharged before all vital signs have stabilized, putting them at risk of adverse events after discharge. However, no studies to date have examined the extent to which patients are discharged with unstable vital signs, and whether this practice is actually associated with higher post-discharge mortality and readmission rates, the researchers said.

Listen to Oanh Nguyen, MD, MAS explain the findings of a UTSW PCOR Center publication on unstable vital signs at the time of hospital discharge in an interview on KERA radio on August 29, 2016.

Data from full hospital stay not much better at predicting risk for readmission than data from first day

March 30, 2016 – Culling more detailed clinical data from electronic health records throughout a hospital stay did not substantially improve predictions about who was more likely to be readmitted, an analysis by UT Southwestern researchers showed, suggesting further studies will be needed to help build effective analytical tools that can help predict outcomes and readmissions.

“Our group’s previous research found that using clinical data from the first day of admission was more effective in predicting hospital readmissions than using administrative billing data,” said lead author Dr. Oanh Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Sciences at UT Southwestern. “So we expected that adding even more detailed clinical data from the entire hospitalization would allow us to better identify which patients are at highest risk for readmission. However, we were surprised to find that this was not the case.”

Better hospital financial performance didn’t produce better patient outcomes

March 30, 2016 – How well a hospital performs financially is not associated with better clinical outcomes, based on results of a new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center that examined hospital mortality and readmission rates.

In addition, the study found that improvements in patient outcomes on several commonly assessed criteria did not lead to a loss in revenue, as some had feared.

Listen to Oanh Nguyen, M.D., M.A.S. explain the findings of a UTSW PCOR Center publication on hospital financial performance in an interview on KERA radio on April 19, 2016.

Often-ignored glucose value in routine blood tests correlates with risk of type 2 diabetes

March 4, 2015 – Glucose values obtained during routine blood tests are often overlooked, but could provide valuable insight into whether someone is at risk for having type 2 diabetes, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

Study finds no reason for cancer survivors to be excluded in advanced stage lung cancer trials

Feb. 9, 2015 – The common practice of excluding patients with a prior cancer diagnosis from lung cancer clinical trials may not be justified, according to a study by researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center. Having previously had cancer did not impact clinical outcomes in advanced lung cancer patients and these patients therefore should be considered for inclusion in clinical trials seeking new therapies, according to the study, appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Predicting Diabetes Risk Using Glucose Data in the Electronic Medical Record

Michael Bowen, M.D., M.P.H. "Predicting Diabetes Risk Using Glucose Data in the Electronic Medical Record,” Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award, The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Testing of ER patients for heart attack in absence of symptoms widespread

November 17, 2014 – Emergency rooms are testing many patients for markers of acute coronary syndrome who show no signs of having suffered a heart attack, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

Inappropriate testing for heart attacks increases the cost of treatment; increases the number of false positives, which could lead to further testing and unnecessary consultations; and adds to patient anxiety, said Anil Makam, M.D., Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern and first author of the study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Hospital-acquired anemia more common, increases risks

May 17, 2017 – One in three patients hospitalized for medical problems experienced a drop in their red blood cell count due to the hospitalization – a concept called hospital-acquired anemia, new research showed.

Moreover, the worse the hospital-acquired anemia – or the more blood lost – the higher the risk of death or readmission, even after adjusting for other important factors, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers reported in a study involving 11,000 patients cared for in six hospitals.

Listen to Anil Makam, M.D., M.A.S. explaining the findings of a recent UTSW PCOR Center publication on hospital-acquired anemia in an interview on KERA radio on June 5, 2107.

Researchers urge use of evidence-based medicine to avoid overtreatment of type 2 diabetes

January 31, 2017 – UT Southwestern Medical Center research supports an evidence-based medicine (EBM) approach that embraces individualized care to prevent overtreatment, specifically for patients with type 2 diabetes.

This recommended strategy is outlined in a review article published recently in Circulation.

“Evidence-based medicine is a powerful tool to provide person-centered care to individuals with type 2 diabetes, as well as for patients with other diseases,” said Dr. Anil Makam, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the article. “When applied to type 2 diabetes, EBM calls for a paradigm shift in our treatment approach.”

“EBM is often misunderstood as a call for universal, cookie-cutter medicine, which has led to an epidemic of overtreatment in type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Oanh Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Sciences, and senior author of the article. “Instead, EBM is a critical tool in the physician’s arsenal to provide individualized and person-centered care.”

1 in 5 are discharged from hospital with unstable vital signs, and experience higher readmission and death rates

August 9, 2016 – Twenty percent of people hospitalized are released before all vital signs are stable, a pattern that is associated with an increased risk of death and hospital readmission, a new study by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers shows.

As hospital stays have shortened dramatically over the past 30 years, there is increasing concern that patients are being discharged before all vital signs have stabilized, putting them at risk of adverse events after discharge. However, no studies to date have examined the extent to which patients are discharged with unstable vital signs, and whether this practice is actually associated with higher post-discharge mortality and readmission rates, the researchers said.

Listen to Oanh Nguyen, MD, MAS explain the findings of a UTSW PCOR Center publication on unstable vital signs at the time of hospital discharge in an interview on KERA radio on August 29, 2016.

Data from full hospital stay not much better at predicting risk for readmission than data from first day

March 30, 2016 – Culling more detailed clinical data from electronic health records throughout a hospital stay did not substantially improve predictions about who was more likely to be readmitted, an analysis by UT Southwestern researchers showed, suggesting further studies will be needed to help build effective analytical tools that can help predict outcomes and readmissions.

“Our group’s previous research found that using clinical data from the first day of admission was more effective in predicting hospital readmissions than using administrative billing data,” said lead author Dr. Oanh Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Sciences at UT Southwestern. “So we expected that adding even more detailed clinical data from the entire hospitalization would allow us to better identify which patients are at highest risk for readmission. However, we were surprised to find that this was not the case.”

Better hospital financial performance didn’t produce better patient outcomes

March 30, 2016 – How well a hospital performs financially is not associated with better clinical outcomes, based on results of a new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center that examined hospital mortality and readmission rates.

In addition, the study found that improvements in patient outcomes on several commonly assessed criteria did not lead to a loss in revenue, as some had feared.

Listen to Oanh Nguyen, M.D., M.A.S. explain the findings of a UTSW PCOR Center publication on hospital financial performance in an interview on KERA radio on April 19, 2016.

Often-ignored glucose value in routine blood tests correlates with risk of type 2 diabetes

March 4, 2015 – Glucose values obtained during routine blood tests are often overlooked, but could provide valuable insight into whether someone is at risk for having type 2 diabetes, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

Study finds no reason for cancer survivors to be excluded in advanced stage lung cancer trials

Feb. 9, 2015 – The common practice of excluding patients with a prior cancer diagnosis from lung cancer clinical trials may not be justified, according to a study by researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center. Having previously had cancer did not impact clinical outcomes in advanced lung cancer patients and these patients therefore should be considered for inclusion in clinical trials seeking new therapies, according to the study, appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Predicting Diabetes Risk Using Glucose Data in the Electronic Medical Record

Michael Bowen, M.D., M.P.H. "Predicting Diabetes Risk Using Glucose Data in the Electronic Medical Record,” Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award, The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Testing of ER patients for heart attack in absence of symptoms widespread

November 17, 2014 – Emergency rooms are testing many patients for markers of acute coronary syndrome who show no signs of having suffered a heart attack, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

Inappropriate testing for heart attacks increases the cost of treatment; increases the number of false positives, which could lead to further testing and unnecessary consultations; and adds to patient anxiety, said Anil Makam, M.D., Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern and first author of the study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.