Additional Medical Costs Due to Hospital-Acquired Falls

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ObjectivesTo explore the additional medical costs (AMCs) due to hospital-acquired falls (falls), as well as their impact on clinical services within hospitals under the nationally uniform universal health insurance system in Japan.MethodsWith the use of administrative profiling data based on accounting systems linked with the Japanese social insurance medical fee schedule, we analyzed data from 2 teaching hospitals: Shimane University Hospital (SUH) and St. Mary's Hospital (SMH). We extracted 588 fall cases from 4669 incident reports in SUH and 1168 fall cases from 7717 incident reports in SMH that potentially incurred AMCs.ResultsAdditional medical costs were 364 ± 2129 USD for minor injuries and 4336 ± 3645 USD for major injuries at SUH (P < 0.001) and 114 ± 124 USD for minor injuries and 2267 ± 2811 USD for major injuries at SMH (P < 0.001). Among the clinical services provided, imaging services were the most frequently used, with 89.9% (n = 205) of 228 minor injuries at SUH and 86.7% (n = 339) of 391 minor injuries at SMH; imaging services were used in all major injury cases at both hospitals. Although the number of cases using additional procedure/surgery services was lower than those using imaging services at both hospitals, AMCs for procedure/surgery services accounted for the highest proportions of total AMCs in both hospitals.ConclusionsAlthough falls with minor injuries outnumbered falls with major injuries, fall-related AMCs for the latter were higher at both teaching hospitals because procedure/surgery services were required for cases with major injuries such as femoral neck and trochanteric fractures. The findings suggest that hospital administrators and policy makers have to take appropriate measures to prevent major injuries inpatients due to hospital-acquired falls.

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