Inpatient volumes poised to grow 2% over next 10 years

Adult inpatient volumes will recover to pre-pandemic numbers but grow only 2 percent over the next decade, a new report from Sg2 forecasts.

At the same time, adult inpatient days are expected to increase 8 percent and tertiary inpatient days are poised to increase 17 percent, fueled by an increase in chronic conditions. 

"While case mix varies by hospital, it is likely this combination of increased inpatient volume, patient complexity and length of stay may require healthcare organizations to rethink service line prioritization, service distribution and investment in care at-home initiatives," Maddie McDowell, MD, senior principal and medical director of quality and strategy for Sg2, said in a June 7 news release for the report. 

Five other key takeaways from Sg2's forecasts: 

1. Outpatient volumes are projected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022 and then grow 16 percent through 2032, three percentage points above estimated population growth.

2. Surgical volumes are projected to grow 25 percent at ambulatory surgery centers and 18 percent at hospital outpatient departments and physician offices over the next decade. 

3. The pandemic-driven decline in emergency department visits is expected to plateau with a decline in demand projected at -2 percent over the next 10 years.

4. Over the next five years, home care is expected to gain traction, with home evaluation and management visits seeing 19 percent growth, home hospice at 13 percent growth and home physical and occupational therapy at 10 percent growth.

5. Telehealth is expected to resume its climb and by 2032 account for 27 percent of all evaluation and management visits.

 

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