Researchers at Harvard University Report the Adoption of UpToDate by Hospitals is Directly Associated with Shortening Patient Stays and Saving Lives

Easily Implemented Clinical Knowledge System is Associated with Saving 11,500 Lives over a Three Year Period

Waltham, Mass. (November 16, 2011) - New research published today in the Journal of Hospital Medicine Early View found that hospitals using Wolters KluwerHealth's UpToDate an evidence based, physician authored clinical knowledge system which clinicians trust to make the right point of care decisions experienced shortened hospital stays, fewer deaths, and better quality performance than non UpToDate hospitals. The study, ( Isaac T, Zheng J, Ashish J.Use of UpToDate and Outcomes in US Hospitals .J Hosp Med. 2011; DOI 10.1002/jhm.944), reinforces other research studies conducted about how UpToDate improves patient outcomes.

"The data suggests the use of computerized tools such as UpToDate enable better decisions, better outcomes and better care," said Ashish Jha, MD MPH, Study Author, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a staff physician at Boston VA Healthcare System and Brigham and Women's Hospital. "These findings are significant because they provide evidence that access to clinical management tools such as UpToDate is likely directly associated with lower risk-adjusted mortality."

Conducted by researchers at Harvard University, the study evaluated performance of US hospitals on a quarter-by-quarter basis, examining quality and efficiency data among Medic are beneficiaries at 1,017 hospitals as they adopted UpToDate compared with 2,305 non-UpToDate hospitals. After considering multiple other possible factors, the adoption of UpToDate emerged as an independent predictor of reduced mortality, shorter hospital length of stay, and better performance on widely used hospital quality metrics.

"When we embarked on this project, it wasn't clear we'd find an association between the use of UpToDate and the quality measures we set out to study," said Thomas Isaac, MD,MBA, MPH, Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "The findings demonstrate that UpToDate was associated with improvements for all three quality measures–patient length of stay, hospital quality performance and mortality rate–for hospitals using UpToDate compared to non-UpToDate hospitals."

Results showed the 1,017 hospitals using UpToDate saved approximately 372,500 hospital days per year and 11,500 lives over the three-year period, cumulatively.  Additionally, hospitals with UpToDate had better quality performance for every condition of the Hospital Quality Alliance metrics, which include ratings for the care provided to heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients and represent 4 of the 6 measures that will be used in Medicare's Value Based Purchasing Program. To view and print a copy of the study, visit

"Although US hospitals are rapidly implementing health information technology, the benefits on hospital outcomes and efficiency have been difficult to demonstrate consistently," said Peter Bonis, MD, UpToDate's Chief Medical Officer.  "This new study provides further evidence that answering clinicians' questions at the point of care can have a significant impact on patient safety and quality of care, and that clinical knowledge systems, such as UpToDate, should be considered as an important component of hospital quality initiatives."

Numerous Studies Demonstrate UpToDate's Clinical Value

These new findings support dozens of previous studies which demonstrate UpToDate answers clinical questions, improves patient care and improves hospital outcomes. A study published in the International Journal of Medical Informatics in 2008, for example, revealed that hospitals with access to UpToDate (N=424) performed significantly better on risk adjusted measures of patient safety and complications and had significantly shorter length of stay compared with hospitals without access. The benefits improved with increasing use of UpToDate. Additional research regarding the benefits UpToDate brings to clinicians can be found at


Doctors Ashish Jha and Thomas Isaac jointly wrote all drafts of the manuscript with no input from any outside sources. Dr. Jie Zheng reviewed the Methods section and provided editorial comments on all sections of the paper. The Use of UpToDate and Outcomes in US Hospitals study was funded by UpToDate, Inc.; however, UpToDate had no role in study design, input into analysis presented, drafting or editing the manuscript, nor saw the manuscript prior to submission to the Journal of Hospital Medicine.