Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

PRACTITIONER APPLICATION: Examining the Trade-Off between NICU Length of Stay and Postdischarge Monitoring: An Instrumental Variables Approach

Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

PRACTITIONER APPLICATION: Examining the Trade-Off between NICU Length of Stay and Postdischarge Monitoring: An Instrumental Variables Approach

Article excerpt

As healthcare providers, we are striving to provide exceptional care for our patients while meeting the Quadruple Aim: enhancing the experience for the patient and family, reducing costs, improving public health, and addressing caregiver burnout. In this context, Williams, Bada, Chesnut, Ferrell, and Mays look at the treatment of low-birth-weight infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the subsequent cost of care. This study is particularly important in the high-pressure environment of the healthcare industry.

The authors focused on the relationship between the costs of care and health outcomes for a high-risk population. They used length of stay (LOS) and discharge weight as the proxy for the practice. Rather than discharging an infant with home apnea/cardio monitoring, could there be cost benefits with a longer hospital LOS? Although initial costs would be higher, could this practice improve short- and long-term health outcomes?

Their findings provide evidence that extending the LOS can provide valuable benefits despite the cost, especially for infants in a rural area. The authors recognize the fact that rural care delivery can provide special challenges that are unique to each community. …

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