Background and Objectives: The average length of stay (ALOS) provides important information regarding care efficiency and the financing of hospitals. A shorter ALOS helps to reduce hospital costs, increase capacity optimization, and improve hospital efficiency. A longer ALOS can be associated with reduced readmission rates and mortality rates. The objective of this study was to analyze the ALOS for stroke patients based on etiology subtype and Get With The Guidelines (GWTG)-Stroke award recognition.
Methods: A retrospective review of the ALOS for hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke patients was conducted for the states of Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan from 99 hospitals using GWTG-Stroke from July 2014 through December 2015. Stroke subsets, GWTG award status, and ALOS were examined.
Results: The national ALOS is 5.22 days for ischemic stroke, 12.75 days for subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), and 8.5 days for intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). The ALOS for ischemic stroke was 4.36 days for non-award winning hospitals and 4.52 days for award winning hospitals. The ALOS for SAH was 7.51 days for non-award winning hospitals and 10.77 days for award winning hospitals. The ALOS for ICH was 18.63 days for non-award winning hospitals and 6.80 days for award winning hospitals. Further broken down, hospitals with a higher award (gold vs silver), had longer ALOS for both SAH and ICH (11.11 vs 8.72 and 7.07 vs 5.84 respectively), while there was no significant difference in ALOS for ischemic stroke.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated that GWTG-Stroke award winning hospitals have a shorter ALOS for ICH and a higher ALOS for SAH than non-award winning hospitals. Those hospitals that have attained gold award status more closely align with national ALOS. Thus, hospitals that are more adherent to guideline recommended care via a quality improvement program may be more efficient when providing care, which impacts hospitals costs.