Mikel Smith, MD
Studies show that hospitals that operate efficiently not only save money for their patients and for themselves, but that they actually tend to provide better overall care.
Our goal at UK HealthCare is to provide the best possible care in the most efficient manner, and we are continually working to improve and streamline our processes so we can do just that.
Tracking the number of patients who, without having planned to, must come back into the hospital within 30 days of a previous hospital stay is another way we measure the quality of care we provide. An example of this would be a patient who had surgery who then develops an infection at their incision site. It’s important to note that unplanned readmissions are not always related to the previous hospital stay, and not all are preventable.
The "Medicare Spending per Beneficiary" (MSPB) measure shows whether Medicare spends more, less or about the same per Medicare patient treated in a specific hospital, compared to how much Medicare spends per patient nationally.
• A result of 1.00 means that Medicare spends ABOUT THE SAME amount per patient for an episode of care initiated at this hospital as it does per hospital patient nationally.
• A result that is more than 1.00 means that Medicare spends MORE per patient for an episode of care initiated at this hospital than it does per hospital patient nationally.
• A result that is less than 1.00 means that Medicare spends LESS per patient for an episode of care initiated at this hospital than it does per hospital patient nationally.
Academic medical centers such as UK HealthCare take care of the very sickest patients. One measure hospitals use to track their efficiency is the length of stay index. Length of stay is the number of days a patient is in the hospital. It refers to the number of calendar days from the day of admission to the day of discharge. For example, the LOS for a patient admitted on May 12 and discharged on May 17 is five days.
The length of stay index compares two numbers:
• Observed length of stay is the amount of time patients are actually in the hospital.
• Expected length of stay is the amount of time patients are expected to be in the hospital. Several factors including age, sex and existing medical conditions are used to determine the amount of time patients are expected to stay in the hospital.
To reach the length of stay index, the observed length of stay is divided by the expected length of stay. A score of 1.00 would mean the observed length of stay and the expected length of stay are the same which means patients are not staying in the hospital longer than expected.
A score higher than 1.00 means patients stayed in the hospital longer than what was expected, and scores below 1.00 indicate patients are spending less time in the hospital than expected.
Who figures these rates? These rates are figured by the University HealthSystem Consortium, an alliance of academic medical centers and their affiliated hospitals representing approximately 90 percent of the nation’s not-for-profit academic medical centers. UHC performs risk-adjustment calculations for all hospitals and provides reports to the participating hospitals.
These numbers are used by hospitals nationwide.
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