Vincent Liu, MD, comments on Kaiser Permanente study showing global differences in COVID-19 hospitalization


Vincent Liu, MD, a specialist in critical care medicine with The Permanente Medical Group, commented on a Kaiser Permanente study that found important differences in outcomes among hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the western United States and other parts of the world.

“The spread of COVID-19 and its impact on local health care systems show differences across the world,” Dr. Liu, a study co-author and research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Northern California, told HealthDay.

According to the study published in The BMJ by researchers with The Permanente Federation, Kaiser Permanente, and the University of California, Berkeley, COVID-19 patients in the United States spend more time in the hospital and are more likely to require intensive care than patients in China, the source of most initial data on COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The researchers examined medical records of about 9.6 million Kaiser Permanente members in California and Washington state. They identified 1,277 patients who were hospitalized with clinically or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 between the beginning of 2020 and early April.

Data specific to the United States will help to inform prevention and treatment approaches over time, Dr. Liu said.

In another report in DotMed’s HealthCareBusiness News looking at the study’s findings, Dr. Liu said clinicians and researchers are continuing to learn more about COVID-19 every day, and “as of yet, we have not identified any clear, evidence-based interventions to prevent hospitalization or critical illness among patients who have been infected.” He added that “we plan to have additional follow-up studies over time to reflect our changing understanding of COVID-19 and its impact.”

Co-authors of the study included Scott Young, MD, of The Permanente Federation; Jim Bellows, PhD, Jean P. Flores, DrPH, and Chris Jentz, MHSA, of the Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute; and lead author Joseph A. Lewnard, PhD, of UC Berkeley.

Note: Read full coverage on HealthDay and DotMed’s HealthCareBusiness News.