Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hospital observation units could save the health care system $3.1 billion

Date:
September 28, 2012
Source:
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Summary:
Researchers estimate that maximizing the potential of an observation unit in a hospital could result in $4.6 million in savings annually for the hospital and $3.1 billion in overall savings for the health care system in the United States.

New research suggests that maximizing the potential of observation units in hospitals could result in significant cost savings for the both the hospital and the healthcare system.

Previous research has shown that observation units in a hospital can be an efficient way to care for certain patients, but only about one-third of hospitals in the United States have such units. Now, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) estimate that maximizing the potential of an observation unit in a hospital could result in $4.6 million in savings annually for the hospital and $3.1 billion in overall savings for the health care system in the United States. These findings are published online by Health Affairs and will also appear in the journal's October issue.

"We believe that this is the first attempt to quantify the financial impact of an observation unit," said Christopher Baugh, MD, lead researcher on the paper and a physician in the Emergency Department at BWH. "Wider use of observation units may play a significant role in saving cost for the health care system and future policies that are focused on doing so should include support for observation units as an alternative tin short-stay inpatient admission," Dr. Baugh said.

An observation until, a dedicated space typically near or within the emergency department, is an alternative to inpatient admission and is dedicated to caring for patients, usually for a 24-hour period, who have been discharged from the emergency department (ED) but require further observation and are not ready to safely leave the hospital. Previous research has shown that care in these units is equal or better in quality compared to inpatient care for certain patient populations.

Researchers used national survey data and published research to determine the average cost saving per observation unit and the number of hospitals that would benefit from an observation unit. They created a simulation model by using a method frequently used to evaluate risk in business when there are many uncertain variables.

Based on their model, researchers report that the average amount saved per patient, after adjusting for inflation could be $1,572 per visit to the observation unit when compared to an inpatient admission. Overall, the national cost savings could be up to $3.1 billion annually if the potential of observation units were maximized. This savings is due largely to avoiding 2.4 million inpatient admissions. Additionally, researchers report that for hospitals with large enough volume to justify the operation of an observation unit, the annual cost saving for that hospital would be $4.6 million, resulting from approximately 3,600 inpatient admissions avoided. Hospitals that would fit into this category include all those with more than 50,000 annual ED visits and many hospitals with 20,000-50,000 annual ED visits.

"In the wake of health care reform and increased scrutiny on the cost of health care, the health care system is under pressure to maintain quality care while decreasing cost. Observation units represent a feasible way to achieve this goal and merit further evaluation as model for acute care redesign to increase the value of care provided throughout the country," Dr. Baugh said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham and Women's Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. W. Baugh, A. K. Venkatesh, J. A. Hilton, P. A. Samuel, J. D. Schuur, J. S. Bohan. Making Greater Use Of Dedicated Hospital Observation Units For Many Short-Stay Patients Could Save $3.1 Billion A Year. Health Affairs, 2012; 31 (10): 2314 DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0926

Cite This Page:

Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Hospital observation units could save the health care system $3.1 billion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120928125302.htm>.
Brigham and Women's Hospital. (2012, September 28). Hospital observation units could save the health care system $3.1 billion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120928125302.htm
Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Hospital observation units could save the health care system $3.1 billion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120928125302.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins