Author(s): Liew D, Liew D, Kennedy MP
OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between emergency department length of stay (EDLOS) and inpatient length of stay (IPLOS).
DESIGN: Retrospective review of presentations and admissions data.
SETTING: Three metropolitan hospitals in Melbourne, 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Mean IPLOS for four categories of EDLOS ( 12 hours); excess IPLOS, defined as IPLOS exceeding state average length of stay; odds ratios for excess IPLOS adjusted for age, sex and time of presentation.
RESULTS: 17 954 admissions were included. Mean IPLOS for the four categories of EDLOS were 12 hours, 7.20 days (P < 0.001). The corresponding excess IPLOS were 0.39, 1.30, 1.96 and 2.35 days (P < 0.001). Compared with EDLOS 4-8 hours, odds ratios (95% CIs) for excess IPLOS associated with the other three categories of EDLOS were 12 hours, 1.49 (1.36-1.63), after adjusting for elderly status, sex and time of ED presentation.
CONCLUSION: EDLOS correlates strongly with IPLOS, and predicts whether IPLOS exceeds the state benchmark for the relevant diagnosis-related group, independently of elderly status, sex and time of presentation to ED. Strategies to reduce EDLOS (including countering access block) may significantly reduce healthcare expenditure and patient morbidity.