Hospitals share patients more often than they realize, which increases the chance of spreading infections, according to a study released March 19 at the annual meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.
While one in nine shared patients is directly transferred from one hospital to another, most patients are discharged before theyre readmitted to another facility, the report says.
After examining nearly 240,000 admissions at 31 acute care Orange County hospitals in 2005, researchers found that 22% of patients discharged from acute care facilities were readmitted somewhere else within a year.
If we better understand the traffic patterns of patients and the interlinking of hospitals, weve added an important component to preventing the spread of disease, lead researcher Susan S. Huang, MD, MPH, assistant professor and hospital epidemiologist at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, said in a press release. She added that being aware of the extent of patient sharing could give us a better idea of where to intervene first.