Higher Quality, Lower Cost with an Innovative Geriatrics Consultation Service

Juliana M. Bernstein, Peter Graven, Kathleen Drago, Konrad Dobbertin, Elizabeth Eckstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives: To design a value-driven, interprofessional inpatient geriatric consultation program coordinated with systems-level changes and studied outcomes and costs. Design: Propensity-matched case–control study of older adults hospitalized at an academic medical center (AMC) who did or did not receive geriatric consultation. Setting: Single tertiary-care AMC in Portland, Oregon. Participants: Adults aged 70 and older who received an inpatient geriatric consultation (n=464) and propensity-matched controls admitted before development of the consultation program (n=2,381). Pre- and postintervention controls were also incorporated into cost difference-in-difference analyses. Measurements: Daily charges, total charges, length of stay (LOS), 30-day readmission, intensive care unit (ICU) days, Foley catheter days, total medication doses per day, high-risk medication doses per day, advance directive and Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) documentation, restraint orders, discharge to home, and mortality. Results: On average, individuals who received a geriatric consultation had $611 lower charges per day than those without a consultation (p=.02). They spent on average 0.36 fewer days in the ICU (p<.001). They were less likely to have restraint orders (20.0% vs 27.9%, p<0.001), more likely to have a POLST (58.2% vs 44.6%, p<.001), and more likely to be discharged to home (33.4% vs 28.2%, p=.03). They received fewer doses of antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, and antiemetics (10, 5, and 7 fewer doses per 100 patient-days, respectively) and had lower in-hospital mortality (2.4% vs 4%, p=.01). There was no difference in hospital LOS or 30-day readmission. Conclusion: Our consultation program resulted in significant reductions in daily charges, ICU days, potentially inappropriate medication use, and use of physical restraints and increased end-of-life planning. This model has potential for dissemination to other institutions operating in resource-scarce, value-driven settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1790-1795
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • academic medical center
  • economics, hospital
  • geriatric consultation
  • geriatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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