Hospital Teaching Status Impacts Surgical Discharge Efficiency

ABSTRACT [FROM JOURNAL]

Objective: There is a paucity of data regarding the efficiency of care provided by teaching hospitals. Yet, instruction on transitions in care and an understanding of systems-based practice are key components of modern graduate medical education. We aimed to determine the relationship between hospital teaching status and the discharge efficiency from a surgical service.

Setting: Patients who were cared for at teaching and nonteaching hospitals captured in the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project National Inpatient Sample from 2012.

Participants: A total of 272,090 patients who underwent one of 44 predefined general surgery procedure types.

Design: Patients were stratified based on treating hospital teaching status (TH vs. NTH). Procedure-specific early discharge (PSED) was defined for each operation type as a discharge that occurred within the lowest 25th percentile for overall length of stay. PSED was used as the discharge efficiency metric. To adjust for cofounders and hospital level clustering, multivariable mixed-effects logistic regression was used to examine the association between teaching status and PSED. Subgroup analysis was performed by operation type. Models were constructed with and without adjustment for inpatient complications.

Results: There were 140,878 (51.8%) patients who received care at a TH. TH status was significantly associated with lower PSED (TH: 10.7% vs. NTH: 11.4%; p < 0.001) and longer length of stay (TH: 5.5 days vs. NTH: 4.5 days; p < 0.001). In the adjusted model of the overall cohort, patients treated at a TH were 8% less likely to receive a PSED compared to those treated at NTH (odds ratio 0.92, 95% confidence interval (0.88, 0.97); p < 0.002). Differences in the rates and odds of PSED were noted across the subgroups.

Conclusions: Teaching hospital status is associated with a reduced likelihood of PSED. The effect of TH on PSED varied by procedure subgroup. Examining the recovery pathways and discharge practices at NTH may allow for the identification of more efficient methods of care that can be applied to the broader healthcare system.