(HealthDay News) – Patients who are frequently admitted to U.S. academic medical centers are significantly more likely than other patients to have multiple complex chronic conditions, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.
Marilyn K. Szekendi, PhD, from University HealthSystem Consortium in Chicago, and colleagues analyzed data from a comprehensive administrative database (University HealthSystem Consortium’s Clinical Data Base/Resource Manager) to identify demographic, social, and clinical characteristics of frequently admitted patients in 101 U.S. academic medical centers.
The researchers found that 28,291 frequently admitted patients (1.6% of all patients) had 180,185 admissions (8% of all admissions) over a one-year period (2011–2012). These patients comprised 7% of all direct costs, and their admissions were driven by multiple chronic conditions. Compared with other hospitalized patients, they had significantly more comorbidities (an average of 7.1 vs. 2.5), including significantly more diagnoses of psychosis or substance abuse. They were slightly more likely than other patients to be on Medicaid or to be uninsured (27.6% vs. 21.6%).
“Frequently admittedpatients’ diagnoses and procedures suggest that their admissions were related to complex chronic diseases;more than three-quarters were admitted to medicine services, and their average length of stay was nearly 7 days,” the authors write. “This information can be used to identify solutions for preventing repeat hospitalization for this small group of patients who consume a highly disproportionate share of health care resources,” they conclude.