Medical Reasons for 'Weekend Effect' Elusive

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , August 20, 2012

"I'd like to see it broken down by trauma center, either level one, two or three. I would like to see more data collected on the patients to make sure that they absolutely are comparable in terms of their Glasgow Coma Scale and other injuries," he says.

"The authors did a nice job with the retrospective database but we would have to collect the data prospectively, that is look at whether the patient came in on the weekend or the weekday and make sure as much data is collected from both groups to help sort out this problem."

O'Connor says arguments about the existence or extent of the weekend effect will remain until better data shows whether or not it's real. "The reason it is still a question is that this has been reported for a variety of other conditions such as aneurisms, strokes, and cardio vascular emergencies. But they have all been from retrospective databases. There are also a number of studies to the contrary that point out no difference," he says. "The reason this issues still sticks around is that we are trying as a profession to get a handle on whether this is real or not."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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