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Brisbane, Australia - Overstating the extra length of stay in hospital from some potentially avoidable event, such as health care acquired infection, may cause decision makers to allocate too much money for programs that prevent these events.

The authors propose a relatively novel statistical method for estimating excess length of stay and compare this with other methods that are widely used, and found that existing methods do not perform that well, and may provide results that could mislead decision makers.

Says Dr. Graves, “The different statistical approaches to modeling length of stay have been debated in the literature”, “Our method is more involved than the other methods to apply, but has distinct advantages”, “There is a chronic shortage of hospital bed days in most countries and so it is important to understanding why they are used”.

Many factors influence how long a patient spends in hospital. Some cannot be changed, such as age or primary diagnosis, but others, such as the risk of acquiring an infection during the admission can be reduced. Making accurate estimates of the impact of these factors on prolonging or shortening length of stay is important. This information can be used to guide decisions about how hospital services should be organized.

The findings will be presented in Value in Health, the official journal of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and outcomes Research. 

Value in Health (ISSN 1098-3015) publishes papers, concepts, and ideas that advance the field of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research and help health care leaders to make decisions that are solidly evidence-based.  The journal is published bi-monthly and has a regular readership of over 3,000 clinicians, decision-makers, and researchers worldwide. 

ISPOR is a nonprofit, international organization that strives to translate pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research into practice to ensure that society allocates scarce health care resources wisely, fairly, and efficiently. 

Value in Health Volume 12 Issue 2 - March/April 2009

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