Using Length of Stay to Understand Patient Flow for Pediatric Inpatients

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Abstract

Objectives:

Develop and test a new metric to assess meaningful variability in inpatient flow.

Methods:

Using the pediatric administrative dataset, Pediatric Health Information System, that quantifies the length of stay (LOS) in hours, all inpatient and observation encounters with 21 common diagnoses were included from the calendar year 2013 in 38 pediatric hospitals. Two mutually exclusive composite groups based on diagnosis and presence or absence of an ICU hospitalization termed Acute Care Composite (ACC) and ICU Composite (ICUC), respectively, were created. These composites consisted of an observed-to-expected (O/E) LOS as well as an excess LOS percentage (ie, the percent of day beyond expected). Seven-day all-cause risk-adjusted rehospitalizations was used as a balancing measure. The combination of the ACC, the ICUC, and the rehospitalization measures forms this new metric.

Results:

The diagnosis groups in the ACC and the ICUC included 113,768 and 38,400 hospitalizations, respectively. The ACC had a median O/E LOS of 1.0, a median excess LOS percentage of 23.9% and a rehospitalization rate of 1.7%. The ICUC had a median O/E LOS of 1.1, a median excess LOS percentage of 32.3%, and rehospitalization rate of 4.9%. There was no relationship of O/E LOS and rehospitalization for either ACC or ICUC.

Conclusions:

This metric shows variation among hospitals and could allow a pediatric hospital to assess the performance of inpatient flow.

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