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Outcomes in acute medicine - Evidence from extended observations on readmissions, hospital length of stay and mortality outcomes

      Highlights

      • 30-day in-hospital mortality reduced from 12.4% to 4.8% over 16 years.
      • Length of stay and readmission rates remained unchanged.
      • Length of stay was linearly dependent on illness severity and may not be improvable.

      Abstract

      Background

      The Acute Medical Admission Unit (AMAU) model of care has been widely deployed, we examine changes in hospital readmission rates, length of stay (LOS) and 30-day in-hospital mortality over 16 years.

      Methods

      All emergency medical admissions between 2002 and 2017 were examined. We assessed 30-day in-hospital mortality, readmission rates, and LOS using logistic regression and margins statistics modelled outcomes against predictor variables.

      Results

      There were 106,586 admissions in 54,928 patients over 16 years. Calculated per patient the 30-day in-hospital mortality was 8.9% (95%CI 8.6% to 9.2%) and showed a relative risk reduction (RRR) of 61.1% from 12.4% to 4.8% over the 16 years (p = .001). Calculated per admission the 30-day in-hospital mortality was 4.5% (95%CI 4.4% to 4.6%) with a RRR of 31.9% from 2002 to 2017. Over this extended period 48.7% of patients were readmitted at least once, 9.3% >5 times and 20 patients >50 times each. The median LOS was 5.9 days (IQR 2.4, 12.9) with no trend of change over time. Total readmissions increased as a time dependent function; early readmissions (<4 weeks) fluctuated without time trend at 10.5% (95%CI 9.6 to 11.3). A logistic regression model described the hospital LOS as a linear function both of comorbidity and the utilisation of inpatient procedures and services.

      Conclusion

      30-day in-hospital mortality showed a linear trend to reduce over time at unaltered LOS and readmission rates. LOS showed linear dependency on clinical complexity; interventions aimed at reducing LOS may not be appropriate beyond a certain point.

      Keywords

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