Impact of observation status on hospital use for patients with cancer.
J Oncol Pract. 2015 Mar;11(2):73-7
Authors: Lipitz-Snyderman A, Klotz A, Atoria CL, Martin S, Groeger J
PURPOSE: For patients with cancer, the impact of observation status on hospital and patient outcomes is not well understood. Our objective was to assess the impact that an observation unit had on hospital use for patients with cancer who presented to the Urgent Care Center at a comprehensive cancer center.
METHODS: We assessed the proportion of Urgent Care Center visits that resulted in an admission to the hospital at a comprehensive cancer center, before (July 9, 2012-December 31, 2012) versus after (July 9, 2013-December 31, 2013) implementation of the observation unit. We also assessed differences in length of stay and stratified the data by presenting complaint.
RESULTS: During each 6-month study interval, there were more than 10,000 patient visits to the Urgent Care Center, representing approximately 6,000 unique patients. Fewer visits resulted in an inpatient admission postimplementation (47%) compared with preimplementation (50%). The duration of hospital stay for admitted patients was higher in the post period (median 108 hours) than in the pre period (median 96 hours). Alternatively, the proportion of hospital admissions with a length of stay less than 24 hours was lower in the post period (pre: 7%; post: 5%). Lower admission rates postimplementation were observed for patients who presented with fluid and electrolyte disorders, nausea and vomiting, syncope, and chest pain.
CONCLUSION: We observed reductions in hospital use for patients with cancer related to an observation unit in a comprehensive cancer center. Adoption of this approach for this patient population has the potential to reduce hospital use, which is of interest to hospitals, payers, and patients.
PMID: 25628386 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]