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Open Access Short Report

Inpatient hospital complications and lengths of stay: a short report

Ronald J Lagoe1*, Pamela E Johnson2 and Mark P Murphy3

Author Affiliations

1 Hospital Executive Council, PO Box 35089, Syracuse, New York, 13235, USA

2 Community General Hospital, Broad Road, Syracuse, New York, 13215, USA

3 St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center, 301 Prospect Avenue, Syracuse, New York, 13203, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:135  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-135

Published: 5 May 2011

Abstract

Background

Increasingly, efforts are being made to link health care outcomes with more efficient use of resources. The current difficult economic times and health care reform efforts provide incentives for specific efforts in this area.

Findings

This study 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. It employed 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 - 11.9 days or 161 - 216 percent longer than those who did not for the two time periods. This increased stay produced 2,020 - 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 - 16.3 days or 232 - 281 percent longer than those who did not for the two time periods. This increased stay produced 2,626 - 3,456 additional patient days. Similar differences were generated for median lengths of stay.

Conclusions

The 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 - $3,000,000 for a three month period. These differences in the use of hospital resources have important implications for reduction of health care costs among providers and payors of care.