Hospitals predict patient volume will be 4% higher in 2022

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Many hospitals are reporting decreasing patient volumes but predict higher volumes in 2022, according to a McKinsey & Co. report published Nov. 15.

To produce the findings, McKinsey surveyed leaders from 100 large, private-sector hospitals that have more than 200 beds. Collectively, they represent 10 percent of all hospital beds in the country.

Here are the key findings: 

  • On average, hospitals reported inpatient admissions to have returned to 2019 levels.
  • Southern and Western hospitals predict the largest inpatient admission increase for 2022, at 6 percent and 5 percent respectively. The average prediction for inpatient increase across all hospitals was 4 percent. 
  • The hospitals expect a 7 percent increase in operating room procedures by 2023 and a  6 percent increase in emergency department admissions. 
  • Around 55 percent of respondents reported that access to specialty care is worse now than in 2019. 
  • More than 40 percent of hospital leaders expect demand to outstrip capacity in both orthopedic surgery and psychiatry. 
  • Workforce shortages and inpatient bed availability were cited as the largest challenges to increasing elective volume. 

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