Academic medical centers such as UK HealthCare including Kentucky Children's Hospital 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:
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.
- 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.
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.