The New Health Care: Get Well Sooner? A Healthier Roommate Could Help

But the author of the study, Olga Yakusheva, a University of Michigan economist, controlled for the factors that nurses at the Connecticut hospital she studied use to assign patients to rooms, including diagnosis and specific room assignment. She found that even in a particular room at the hospital and even among patients with a specific diagnosis, those who ended up with healthier roommates fared better. (The study did not include patients who had single rooms.)

What’s more, “placing a sick and a healthy patient in one room benefited the sicker patient without ill effects for the healthier roommate,” Ms. Yakusheva said.

Had that particular hospital taken fuller advantage of this phenomenon in patient room assignments, it could have…

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