The association between number of doctors per bed and readmission of elderly patients with pneumonia in South Korea

Joo Eun Lee, Tae Hyun Kim, Kyoung Hee Cho, Kyu Tae Han, Euncheol Park

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Background: There is an urgent need to reduce readmission of patients with pneumonia and improve quality of care. To assess the association between hospital resources and quality of care, we examined the effect of number of doctors per bed on 30-day readmission and investigated the combined effect of number of doctors per bed and number of beds. Methods: We used nationwide cohort sample data of health insurance claims by the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) from 2002 to 2013. Pneumonia admissions to acute care hospitals among 7446 inpatients older than 65 were examined. We conducted a multivariate Cox proportional hazard model to analyze the association between the number of doctors per bed and 30-day readmission, as well as that of pneumonia-specific 30-day readmission with the combined effects of number of doctors per bed and number of beds. Results: Overall, 1421 (19.1%) patients were readmitted within 30 days and 756 (11.2%) patients were readmitted for pneumonia within 30 days. Patients with pneumonia treated by very low or low number of doctors per bed showed higher readmission (pneumonia-specific readmission: hazard ratio [HR] = 1. 406, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.072-1.843 for low number of doctors per bed; all-cause readmissions: HR = 1.276, 95% CI = 1.026-1.587 for very low number of doctors per bed, and HR = 1.280, 95% CI = 1.064-1.540 for low number of doctors per bed). Conclusions: This empirical study showed that patients with pneumonia cared for in hospitals with more doctors were less likely to be readmitted. Pneumonia-specific 30-day readmission was also significantly associated with the combined effect of the number of doctors and the number of hospital beds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number393
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 8


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy

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