November 14, 2022

Unplanned hospital visits within 7 days of outpatient surgery

Editor's Note

This study led by researchers at Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut, finds that many patients have unplanned hospital visits within 7 days of outpatient surgical procedures performed in hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs), often for potentially preventable reasons.

The analysis included 1,135,441 outpatient surgical procedures performed at 4,058 hospitals on Medicare patients.

Among the findings:

  • A total of 7.8% of outpatient surgical procedures were followed by an unplanned hospital visit within 7 days.
  • Many reasons for unplanned visits were for potentially preventable conditions, such as urinary retention, infection, and pain.
  • There was considerable variation in the risk-standardized ratio score across hospitals, with 203 best-performing HOPDs having 22% fewer unplanned visits than expected, and 202 worst-performing HOPDs having 29% more postoperative visits than expected.

The variation in performance across hospitals suggests opportunities for quality improvement, the researchers say.


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