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Korean Journal of Preventive Medicine 1996;29(1): 51-66.
A study on the trend in the length of hospital stay in Korea.
Woo Hyun Cho, Ki Hong Chung, Im Ok Kang
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this study was to examine the trends of length of hospital stay (LOS), which is most likely to be a major attribute to hospital performance From 1984 to 1994, an average LOS of each hospital was analyzed by factors such as medical departments, bed size, occupancy rate, region and ownership. This study was analyzed changing rate of LOS during 11 years. This rate was calculated by simple regression, which was used only with hospital without missing data during 11 years. This study findings are as follows. 1. The results indicated that the average LOS was steadily increased until 1990 but it was slightly decreased after 1990. 2. This trend could be found in all hospital scale and all group of occupancy rate. Specifically this trends of LOS were found in internal medicine, corporate owned hospitals, and hospitals in major city. But LOS of individual owned hospital was continuously increased until 1994. 3. Means of changing rates of LOS were calculated from 1984 to 1994. If we divided it into two parts, before 1990 and after 1990, most changing rates of LOS before 1990 except individual owned hospital were found positive sign. The changing rates after 1990 were negative sign but small hospital(lesser then 200 bed), individual owned hospital, national & public hospital and hospital in small urban have little change of LOS after 1990. Finally from this results we thought that most hospitals in korea began to be concerned with LOS. Nevertheless LOS of several hospital such as small hospital or individual owned hospital was increased. And this trend may be caused by a few patients, low occupancy rate, or low profit. This trend of LOS is different from that of other countries. Perhaps this phenomenon is resulted from the reimbursement method. Because of fee for service reimbursement system in korea the hospitals didn't need to shorten LOS in order to save the cost and increase the profit. Therefore reform of hospital cost reimbursement method will be reduced to reduce hospital cost in korea. we thought that the korean health authority should consider the reimbursement method by unit of bundle of services, for example DRG and prepayment in the united states. This study presents some limitations such as on insight of severity of disease, case-mix measurement of hospital, and other clinical characteristics that can possibly affect LOS, However, this study reports an important trend in LOS from 1984 to 1994.
Key words: Length of Stay
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