Intervention with Nutritional Supplements can Provide Benefits in the Hospital

Posted on by VFL

During their hospitalisation, patients that are provided with oral nutrition supplements appear to have shorter hospital stays and lower health care costs according to an economic research study. This study took place at the University of Chicago by a team led by Tomas Phillipson and backed by Abbott Nutrition. This study analyzed over a million adult hospital stays, and noted that nutritional intervention lowered the length of the hospital stay for around 21 percent of these candidates.

This translates to an approximate 2.3 day reduction in hospital stays and around $4,734 in savings or 21.6 percent on health care costs for these individuals.
In addition to offering these basic savings, the addition of nutritional supplement to the patients’ treatment routines reduced the 30 day readmission for patients with a minimum of one subsequent readmission by 6.7 percent. These findings were presented to the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism at their congress in Leipzig, Germany. These findings were also published in the American Journal of Managed Care.

Patient Nutrition

Patients that have known nutritional deficiencies tend to have a longer and more difficult recovery which can in turn lead to higher health care costs to treat these individuals. This can also increase the complication rates associated with these individuals. The study indicates that providing oral nutritional supplements can provide economic benefits and improving patient outcomes by lowering this recovery time. In addition to focusing on the health economics associated with this issue, this research has moved to focus on studying how economic analysis can find a way to use nutritional therapy as a way to increase the overall value of the health care system.

Study Details

Researchers in charge of this study primarily focused on retrospective data analysis as a way of determining how providing oral nutritional supplements to patients would affect the hospital stays of these individuals. This was performed by comparing the hospital stays of those that were not provided supplements during their stay as opposed to those that were encouraged to take these nutritional offerings.

Samples included 1,160,088 episodes, 580,044 of which did not receive supplements and 580,044 of which did, where nutritional supplements were offered, noting the length of the hospital stay and the total cost of deprecation of equipment, supplies and labour associated with treating these people. The probability that these individuals would be readmitted within 30 days was also noted in these findings.

Analysis of these figures showed that those that received oral supplements had a shorter stay in the hospital at 2.3-8.6 days compared to the average 10.9 experienced by those that did not receive supplements. The total health care costs also dropped after administering nutritional supplements to these patients. The total cost of care dropped from $21,950 to $17,216 on average.

During additional studies, the number of samples was restricted to 862,960 patients that were at some point readmitted to the hospital. This sample showed that those that had not received supplements had a 2.3 percent increase in the risk that they would reenter the hospital within 30 days.