Variation in Risk-Standardized Rates and Causes of Unplanned Hospital Visits Within 7 Days of Hospital Outpatient Surgery
The objectives of this study were to compare risk-standardized hospital visit ratios of the predicted to expected number of unplanned hospital visits within 7 days of same-day surgeries performed at US hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) and to describe the causes of hospital visits.
Summary of Background Data
More than half of procedures in the US are performed in outpatient settings, yet little is known about facility-level variation in short-term safety outcomes.
The study cohort included 1,135,441 outpatient surgeries performed at 4058 hospitals between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016 among Medicare Fee-for-Service beneficiaries aged ≥65 years. Hospital-level, risk-standardized measure scores of unplanned hospital visits (emergency department visits, observation stays, and unplanned inpatient admissions) within 7 days of hospital outpatient surgery were calculated using hierarchical logistic regression modeling that adjusted for age, clinical comorbidities, and surgical procedural complexity.
Overall, 7.8% of hospital outpatient surgeries were followed by an unplanned hospital visit within 7 days. Many of the leading reasons for unplanned visits were for potentially preventable conditions, such as urinary retention, infection, and pain. We found considerable variation in the risk-standardized ratio score across hospitals. The 203 best-performing HOPDs, at or below the 5th percentile, had at least 22% fewer unplanned hospital visits than expected, whereas the 202 worst-performing HOPDs, at or above the 95th percentile, had at least 29% more post-surgical visits than expected, given their case and surgical procedure mix.
Many patients experience an unplanned hospital visit within 7 days of hospital outpatient surgery, often for potentially preventable reasons. The observed variation in performance across hospitals suggests opportunities for quality improvement.