Hospitals: The Faster Out, the Sooner You Are Back?
According to new studies at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, the faster a hospital kicks you out, the more likely it is you will need to be readmitted within a few days. In a way there is a sort of twisted logic to this–when there are extra beds available, people may try to stay an extra night just to be cautious. When the bed supply is short, the hospital may discharge people who look healthy but really are not ready.
These very large studies covering multiple years and 7,800 patients who had surgery, altogether amounting to 35,500 nights, found that when patients were sent home during the busiest times of hospitals, they were 50 percent more likely to need readmission within three days. Each extra bed in use when the patients were discharged resulted in inceasing the odds of readmission within 72 hours by 0.35 percent.
The report appears in Health Care Management Science, vol. 15, number 1 (2012), 29-36. The title is “The impact of hospital utilization on patient readmission rate,” by David Anderson, Bruce Golden, Wolfgang Jank, and Edward Wasil. It was summarized by Kelsey Brimmer, in Health Care Payer News, May 18, 2012, “Studies show readmission rate higher at busy hospitals.