Objective: Although patients' reports of health status and functioning have been shown to be reliable and valid measures for use in health care research, there is limited information on their practical utility in clinical settings. The purpose of this study was to determine if patients' reports of physical and psychosocial health status have prognostic value by predicting future hospital stays in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients.
Methods: Research design was an observational, longitudinal follow-up study involving a sample of 132 AMI patients recently discharged from nine community hospitals. One hundred twelve patients (85%) completed the study. Patient reports of general health status, diagnosis-specific measures of health status, medical history, and demographic characteristics were collected one to two months post AMI; follow-up data were gathered six months later to identify occurrence of new cardiac-related stays.
Results: Poor psychosocial functioning and cardiac symptoms were significantly associated with the likelihood of being rehospitalized (odds ratios of 4.62 and 4.00). Multivariate results, however, show that poor psychosocial function and younger age--but not cardiac symptoms--are significant independent predictors of new hospital stays, after controlling for medical history and demographic variables.
Conclusion: Simple patient reports of health status, which physicians can obtain easily from AMI patients shortly after an infarction, are predictive of rehospitalization.