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September 13, 2010

Unnecessary Hospital Transfers Add to US Healthcare Costs

Unnecessarily transferring patients between hospitals is increasing healthcare costs, according to a study from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Researchers analysed the data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, studying all the discharges from 20% of hospit

By cms admin

Unnecessarily transferring patients between hospitals is increasing healthcare costs, according to a study from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

Researchers analysed the data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, studying all the discharges from 20% of hospitals across 37 states in the US.

They found that secondary overtriage, defined as transport of patients between hospitals, was less than 7% (3,291) among the 51,000 transfers.

However, each secondary overtriage costs around $5,900, creating a significant financial burden.

One fifth of secondary overtriage recipients were paediatric patients, who were rapidly discharged after they underwent minor procedures.

Study author Dr David Chang said that if patients were discharged that quickly, they probably didn’t need a transfer.

“You could probably be discharged from the first hospital and followed up with a clinic visit,” Chang said.

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