2Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Introduction: Hospitalization of patients with cancer has a significant economic impact and avoidance where unnecessary has great potential for significant cost savings for patients, individual hospitals and the health system in general. Methods: Demographic, clinical and economical data were collected from medical records in our hospital retrospectively. Oncology clinicians reviewed medical records to categorize each hospitalization as "potentially avoidable" or "not avoidable." Patient demographic and clinical data were abstracted and quantitative and qualitative analyses were performed to identify patient characteristics and outcomes associated with potentially avoidable hospitalizations. Finally data on the cost of the latter were estimated. Results: Of 451 hospitalizations, medical oncologists identified 55 (12.2%) as potentially avoidable. Avoiding these and caring for the patients in alternative locations would save some $ US 641,240 yearly. Among patients with avoidable hospitalization, 70.9% were males and the median age and median length of stay was 55 years and 4.7 days. Most of them had general signs (83.6%) and a fever body temperature lower than 38.5’C (96.4%). Lung, kidney and urinary tract cancers were the most common diagnoses (10.9%). The majority of avoidable hospitalized patients had local cancer (85.5%) and poor performance status (43.6%). The most prevalent procedure for patients with avoidable hospitalization was sonography and the least frequent were laboratory tests and MRI. Most cases received no treatment. Conclusion: Avoidable hospitalizations are common in patients with cancer. Age, final results of hospitalization and length of stay were established as significant variables for patients with avoidable hospitalization.