A new study shows that capacity by itself can drive hospital admissions, with findings supporting limiting the number of hospital beds to actual population needs. Researchers at Michigan State University found a strong correlation between the availability of beds and use, even when accounting for other factors that lead to hospitalization such as the ailment itself or access to primary care, says an article in MSU Today.
In the study published in the journal PLOS ONE, Paul Delamater, lead author and researcher in MSU's Department of Geography, analyzed the 1.1 million admissions in Michigan's 169 acute-care hospitals during 2010. According to the data, Michigan has too many hospital beds for the needs of the population. Building more hospitals than needed increases healthcare costs overall, the article states.
The study uses statistical models that can be replicated for other states, and is the first of its kind to examine hospital bed use including geography as a factor. " Unlike previous studies, the researchers modeled the entire acute care hospital system while accounting for the travel- and health-related behavior of patients," says the article.