Evaluation of a hospital-based utilization management program.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of a utilization management (UM) program designed to decrease inappropriate use of acute care hospital beds while maintaining quality of care. The measure used to define appropriateness was the ISD-A, a diagnosis-independent measurement tool which relies on severity of illness and intensity of service criteria. The outcome measures for the study included appropriate admission to hospital and continued days of stay in hospital, 30-day readmission rates and physician perceptions of the impact of the intervention on quality of care, access to services and patient discharge patterns. The sample frame for the study included two control and two intervention community hospitals, involving 1,800 patient charts. Readmission rates were determined by analyzing all separations from medical services (N = 42,014) in the two experimental and two control hospitals. All physicians with admitting privileges (N = 312) at the intervention hospitals were surveyed; obstetricians, pediatricians, and psychiatrists were excluded from the survey. The results of the study demonstrated that the proportion of inappropriate admissions did not decrease significantly in any of the hospitals, but there were significant decreases in inappropriate continued stay in the intervention hospitals (p < 0.05). Both intervention and one of the control hospitals had lower 30-day readmission rates in the "after" period than in the "before" period (p < 0.05). Eighty-six percent believed that there had been no adverse impact on access to care and, although 25% thought the program may have led to premature discharge, this was not supported by the readmission data.


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Cardiff K
Anderson G
Sheps S