Hospitals are one of those places you don’t mind visiting, but only if you’re there on a temporary basis. With thousands of hospitals available around the world, breaking down the hospital demographics comes down to the levels of care they are able to provide.
In the United States, 35.1 million discharges from hospital inpatient care occurred in the last available year data was made available.
Although we often think of a hospital as a place to provide long-term care, it is usually more of a short-term healthcare option. Just 7.3% of people who are admitted to a hospital were required to stay overnight at least once. Outpatient visits are much more popular, accounting for 125.7 million total visits, or 41 visits per 100 people.
Healthcare in the United States
- Outside of childbirth, the most common reason to be admitted into a hospital between the ages of 0-44 is because of an injury, with admission rates at 44.8 per 10,000 people.
- In the 45-64 age demographic, the most common reason for hospital admission is because of heart disease, at 145.6 per 10,000 people.
- People aged 45-64 in the US are 3x more likely to be admitted because of a heart condition when compared to an injury, although injury rates are actually comparable to all other age groups.
- The rate of heart attack admissions has been reduced by half in the US since 1990.
- Someone in the 18-44 age demographic is 4x less likely to be admitted to a hospital for a cancer diagnosis compared to someone in the 45-64 age demographic.
- Individuals in the 65-74 age demographic are 2x more likely to visit the hospital than the 45-64 age demographic and 7x more likely than the under 18 age demographic.
- Heart disease is the most common first diagnosis at hospital admission in the 65-74 age demographic [407.4]. This is followed by osteoarthritis [160.7], cancer [147.5], and stroke [109.5].
- Individuals in the 75-84 age demographic are 10x more likely to be admitted to the hospital than the under 18 age group and 1.5x more likely than the 65-74 demographic.
- The average length of stay in a US hospital: 4.8 days.
- 92% of children in the US have had contact with a primary care provider or other healthcare professional in the last year.
In the United States, there is an epidemic of heart disease. At 85+ years of age, 1,054.7 admissions per 10,000 in the population are for heart disease complications. This is 8x higher than cancer admissions, 3x higher than pneumonia admissions, and even 2x higher than injury admissions. Even in the 18-44 age group, heart disease is the third most likely reason why someone will visit the hospital if childbirth is excluded. The facts about hospital demographics are clear: no matter what age you happen to be or what ethnicity or socioeconomic status you are, if you live in the US, then you need to focus on preventing heart disease.
Financial Influences on Hospital Demographics
- Patients treated at the financially distressed hospitals are 13.7% more likely to have a surgery-related patient safety event than are patients treated at highly profitable hospitals.
- Patients treated at the financially distressed hospitals also are 18.3% more likely to have a nursing-related patient safety event than are patients at highly profitable hospitals
- When there are potentially preventable complications, patients at a hospital in financial trouble are 26% more likely to not be rescued from and even die from those complications.
- Blacks or African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to suffer adverse safety events compared to Whites when there are financial concerns in play.
- Women are more likely to suffer adverse safety events during surgeries compared to men in this situation.
- The ninth leading cause of death in the United States is medical mistakes.
Hospitals that are trying to cut back in order to save money are also cutting back on the quality of care that they provide. Recent surveys have found that 10% of adult patients have encountered a mistake during their most recent trip to the hospital and more than half of those mistakes had serious complications. Unfortunately it seems that hospitals in more affluent areas where more White people are treated than minorities provide better overall treatment.
Urban vs, Rural Hospital Demographics
- In 2010, 12% of the 35 million U.S. hospitalizations were in rural hospitals. This is under-represented in the population base, as 17% of the US population lives in rural areas.
- 11% of the 168 million total hospital days of care were provided by rural hospitals.
- A higher percentage of inpatients in rural hospitals were aged 65+ [51% compared with inpatients in urban hospitals [37%].
- The average number of diagnoses for rural and urban inpatients was similar, as was the average length of stay.
- 64% of rural hospital inpatients, compared with 38% of urban hospital inpatients, had no procedures performed while in the hospital.
- A higher percentage of rural inpatients [7%] than urban inpatients [3%] are transferred to other short-term hospitals.
- A higher percentage of rural inpatients [14%] than urban inpatients [11%] were discharged to long-term care institutions.
- Just 6% of all inpatient procedures, a total of 51 million, were performed by rural hospitals.
- 52% of rural hospital patients in the US utilize Medicare as their primary source of payment.
- Length of stay in rural hospitals is 0.3 days lower compared to urban hospitals, but the average number of diagnoses is 0.5 higher.
Urban hospitals are hitting above their punching weight when it comes to the level of care they provide. Rural hospitals are equally important to the care that patients are able to receive, but they are also under-represented by their population base. This may be the reason why treatment in rural areas costs a bit more in the US healthcare system. Because fewer people are being treated, the hospital must make up the costs of their operating expenses in some other way.
Why We Go To The Hospital Today
- The most frequent illness-related reason to visit the hospital in the United States: a cough.
- Arthropathies, or diseases of the joints, are the most common diagnosis made at US hospitals today.
- 136 million visits to hospital emergency rooms happen on any given year, with 1 in 4 being related to an injury.
- Just 1 in 10 ER visits results in a hospital admission, with just 2.1 million admissions involving critical conditions.
- 27% of patients who visit the emergency room are seen in 15 minutes or less.
- 5.3% of people who require hospital care say that they failed to obtain it because they couldn’t pay for it.
- 12.1% of Americans say that they do not have a regular place they go to receive medical care when they feel it is needed.
- 48.7% of people who have visited the hospital or their doctor in the last 30 days were given at least one prescription drug. 10% of patients were prescribed 5 or more therapeutic drugs.
- The percentage of outpatient hospital visits involving drug therapy: 72.5%
- 80% of hospital emergency room visits involve drug therapies, with 286 million drugs ordered.
The American Medical Association recently released recommendations that encourage doctors to avoid using opiates as a first-line treatment option for chronic pain. It’s replacement? Exercise, physical therapies, and NSAID painkillers as necessary. The fact is that 40 people every day, on average, die because they have overdosed on drug therapies that were recommended by their doctors or because they were abused in some way. Americans go to the doctor because they are seeking help to get over a health crisis. Far too often, it seems, the solution to that crisis tends to be some sort of drug therapy.
Ethinicity and Hospital Demographics
- 29% of Hispanic or Latino patients stated that they experienced issues with a hospital respecting their preferences after receiving surgical services. 27% of Blacks or African-Americans reported the same issue, but only 17% of Whites say the same thing.
- Among patients discharged after obstetrical services, 21% of Blacks or African Americans reported preference respect issues. 32% of Hispanics or Latinos reported such problems, but compared to just 10% of Whites.
- Investor-owned hospitals are 68% more likely than government hospitals and 30% more likely than non-profit hospitals to collect information on at least some of their patients’ primary or preferred languages.
- Teaching hospitals are 33% more likely than non-teaching hospitals to record patients’ languages.
- Rural hospitals with a daily census of less than 20 are 71% less likely to collect ethnicity or language preferences on their patients.
- Although more than 90% of hospitals collect data at the start of an exam, interview, or procedure, that information is used more for government reporting purposes than to assist with patient care.
- 1 in 4 hospitals report that data on patient race and ethnicity is determined by administrative clerks and other staff instead of patient self-reporting.
- 83% of US adults reported having contact with a healthcare professional at least once in the last 12 months.
There has always been a conversation about whether or not ethnicities other than Whites have trouble accessing the care that they need. Although the data on this is limited, there does seem to be some truth to the idea. When minority ethnicities complain at 3x higher rates about their preferences not being respected, combined with what may be over 1,000 hospitals assuming ethnic preferences rather than asking about them, the level of care should be questioned. Is it because ethnic minorities are seen as being more likely to not be able to pay their medical bills? Is there another ethnic bias in play?
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