Complications Like UTI and Pneumonia Add Substantially to Healthcare Costs

Complications Like UTI and Pneumonia Add Substantially to Healthcare Costs

Increasingly, efforts are being made to link healthcare outcomes with more efficient use of resources. The current difficult economic times and healthcare reform efforts provide incentives for specific efforts in this area. Ronald J Lagoe, of the Hospital Executive Council in Syracuse, N.Y., and colleagues, conducted a study that defined relationships between inpatient complications for urinary tract infection and pneumonia and hospital lengths of stay in three general hospitals in the metropolitan area of Syracuse, New York. Their research was published in BMC Research Notes

The study used the Potentially Preventable Complications (PPC) software developed by 3M Health Information Services to identify lengths of stay for patients with and without urinary tract infection and pneumonia. The patient populations included individuals assigned to the same All Patients Refined Diagnosis Related Groups and severity of illness. The comparisons involved two nine-month periods in 2008 and 2009. The study demonstrated that patients who experienced the complications had substantially longer inpatient hospital stays than those who did not. Patients with a PPC of urinary tract infection stayed a mean of 8.9 to 11.9 days or 161 to 216 percent longer than those who did not for the two time periods. This increased stay produced 2,020 to 2,427 additional patient days. The study demonstrated that patients who experienced the complications had substantially longer inpatient hospital stays than those who did not. Patients with a PPC of pneumonia stayed a mean of 13.0 to 16.3 days or 232 to 281 percent longer than those who did not for the two time periods. This increased stay produced 2,626 to 3,456 additional patient days. Similar differences were generated for median lengths of stay.

The researchers concluded that differences in hospital stays for patients in the same APR DRGs and severity of illness with and without urinary tract infection and pneumonia in the Syracuse hospitals were substantial. The additional utilization for these complications was valued at between $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 for a three-month period. These differences in the use of hospital resources have important implications for reduction of healthcare costs among providers and payors of care.

Reference: Lagoe RJ, Johnson PE and Murphy MP. Inpatient hospital complications and lengths of stay: a short report. BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:135

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