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Study Measures Economic Impact of Hospital-Acquired Complications on an Acute Health Service

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A new study, published in the Australian Health Review, modelled the economic impact of 16 ‘high-priority’ hospital-acquired complications (HACs), as defined by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, from the perspective of an individual Australian health service. HACs are a major issue in Australian health care; however, their effect on cost and LOS at the individual health service level is not well quantified.

The retrospective cohort study was performed using a deidentified patient dataset containing 93,056 in-patient separations in Northern Health (Victoria, Australia) from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017. Two log-linked generalised linear regression models were used to obtain additional costs and additional length of stay (LOS) for 16 different HACs, with the main outcome measures being the additional cost and Length of Stay (LOS) for all 16 HACs.

Results of the study showed that in all, 1700 separations involving HACs were identified. The most common HAC was health care-associated infections. Most HACs were associated with a statistically significant risk of increased cost (15/16 HACs) and LOS (11/16 HACs).

Researchers state the study shows the economic impact of HACs from the perspective of an individual health service, with the methodology used demonstrating how other health services could determine safety priorities corresponding to their own casemix.

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