To explore cost-efficiency, safety and acceptability of trans-disciplinary advanced allied health (AH) practitioners for acute adult general medicine inpatients.
Quasi-experimental feasibility study.
Three acute general medical units in an Australian urban hospital.
Two hundred and fifty-six acute hospital inpatients.
Main outcome measures
Cost-efficiency measures included AH service utilization and length of stay (LOS). Patient outcomes were functional independence, discharge destination, adverse events, unplanned admissions within 28 days, patient satisfaction and quality of life data on admission, and 30 days post-discharge. Ward staff were surveyed regarding satisfaction with the service model, and advanced health practitioners (AHPs) rated their confidence in their own ability to meet the performance standards of the role.
Patients allocated to AHPs (n = 172) received 0.91 less hours of AH intervention (adjusted for LOS) (95% confidence intervals (CI): -1.68 to -0.14; P = 0.02) and had 1.76 days shorter LOS relative to expected (95%CI: 0.18-3.34; P = 0.03) compared with patients receiving standard AH (n = 84). There were no differences in patient outcomes or satisfaction. AHPs demonstrated growth in job satisfaction and skill confidence.
Trans-disciplinary advanced AH roles may be feasible and cost-efficient compared with traditional roles for acute general medical inpatients. Further development of competency frameworks is recommended.