5 ways hospitals can combat the 'weekend effect' of longer stays, higher mortality

Recent studies have found patients tend to experience more complications, longer stays and higher rates of readmission to the hospital on the weekend, raising the question: What can hospitals do differently?

Using predictive analytics, researchers from the Maywood, Ill.-based Loyola University Health System examined 21 hospital resources that may help hospitals overcome the so-called "weekend effect," identifying five factors that did just that.

The researchers predicted boosting hospital resources before, during and after surgeries could help combat the weekend effect. To test their theory, they examined more than 126,000 patient records at 117 hospitals in Florida, a state with a large, diverse population.

They focused their research on three types of urgent surgeries that cannot typically be delayed until the weekdays: appendectomies, hernia repairs and gall bladder removals.

Out of 21 hospital resources examined, the following five factors helped hospitals overcome the weekend effect most, followed by how many times more likely those hospitals were to overcome the weekend effect.

  • Fully adopted EHR system (4.74 times more likely than a hospital without a fully adopted EHR system to overcome the weekend effect)
  • Home health program (2.37 times more likely to overcome the weekend effect)
  • Pain management program (1.48 times more likely to overcome the weekend effect)
  • Increased nurse-to-bed ratio (1.44 times more likely to overcome the weekend effect)
  • Inpatient physical rehabilitation (1.03 times more likely to overcome the weekend effect)

The team of Loyola researchers plans to conduct further studies on the effect of hospital resources on complications, longer stays and readmission rates of hospitals in California, another state with a large, diverse population.



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