New Article: Meydan et al, Managing the Shortage of Acute Care Hospital Beds

Meydan, Chanan, Ziona Haklai, Barak Gordon, Joseph Mendlovic, and Arnon Afek. “Managing the Increasing Shortage of Acute Care Hospital Beds in Israel.” Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 21.1 (2015): 79-84.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jep.12246

 

Abstract

Rationale, aims and objectives

Israel’s healthcare system has been facing increasing hospital bed shortage over the last few decades. Community-based services and shortening length of stay have helped to ease this problem, but hospitals continue to suffer from serious overload and saturation. The objective of this study is to present hospitalization trends in Israel’s internal medicine departments.

Methods

The data is based on the National Hospital Discharges database (NHDR) in the Israeli Health Ministry, pertaining to hospitalizations in all internal medicine departments nationwide between 2000 and 2012.

Results

Total yearly hospitalization days, representing healthcare burden, had increased by 4.2% during the study period, driven mainly by the most advanced age groups. The rate of total hospitalization days per 100,000 people for all the age groups has decreased by 17.6%, but the oldest patient group had a modest reduction in comparison (7.5%). The parameter of age correlated with length of stay and readmission rates, and neither decreased during the surveyed years.

Conclusions

These results demonstrated that the healthcare burden on acute internal medicine services has been reduced mostly for middle-aged populations but only modestly for elderly populations. The length of hospital stay and the readmission rates have reached and maintained a plateau in recent years, regardless of age. The findings of this study call for planning specific to elderly populations in light of changing demographics. Possible directions may include renewed emphasis on internal medicine and geriatric medicine, and efforts to shorten hospitalization time by extended utilization of multidisciplinary primary care.

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