Malnutrition underdiagnosed among hospital inpatients

Missing a malnutrition diagnosis appears to be a universal issue across academic medical centers due to the consistently low rates of diagnosis, according to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Researchers examined the University HealthSystem Consortium (Vizient) database for reported rates of malnutrition diagnosis. They studied all adult inpatient hospitalization at 105 member institutions during fiscal years 2014 and 2015. They also obtained hospital volume as well as hospital rankings and patient satisfaction scores and performed multiple regression analyses to study if there was any link between the variables and reported rates of malnutrition.

In all, researchers studied 5.89 million hospitalizations during the two-year period. They found that 292,754 patients, or 5 percent, had a malnutrition diagnosis during their hospital stay.

The study shows a statistically significant increase in malnutrition diagnosis from 4 percent in 2014 to 4.9 percent in 2015. Higher hospital volume, hospital ranking and patient satisfaction scores were associated with higher rate of malnutrition diagnosis.

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