Relationship between in-hospital location and outcomes of care in patients of a large general medical service

Lua Perimal-Lewis, Jordan Li, Paul Hakendorf, David Ben-Tovim, Shaowen Qin, Campbell Thompson

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The discrepancy between the number of admissions and the allocation of hospital beds means that many patients admitted under the care of a general medical service can be placed in other departments' wards. These patients are called 'outliers', and their outcomes are unknown. Aims: To examine the relation between the proportion of time each patient spent in their 'home ward' during an index admission and the outcomes of that hospital stay. Methods: Data from Flinders Medical Centre's patient journey database were extracted and analysed. The analysis was carried out on the patient journeys of patients admitted under the general medicine units. Results: Outlier patients' length of stay was significantly shorter than that of the inlier patients (110.7h cf 141.9h; P < 0.001).They had a reduced risk of readmission within 28 days of discharge from hospital. Outlier patients' discharge summaries were less likely to be completed within a week (64.3% cf 78.0%; P < 0.001). Being an outlier patient increased the risk-adjusted risk of in-hospital mortality by over 40%. Fifty per cent of deaths in the outlier group occurred within 48h of admission. Outlier patients had spent longer in the emergency department waiting for a bed (6.3h cf 5.3h; P < 0.001) but duration of emergency department stay was not an independent predictor of mortality risk. Conclusion: Outlier patients had significantly shorter length of stay in hospital but significantly greater in-patient death rates. Surviving outlier patients had lower rates of readmission but lower rates of discharge summary completion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-716
Number of pages5
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Healthcare delivery
  • Home ward
  • Outcome
  • Ward inlier
  • Ward outlier


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