1Centre for Innovation in Complex Care,Toronto,ON,Canada.
Background: There is strong evidence that clinical outcomes are improved for stroke patients admitted to specialized Stroke Units. The Toronto Western Hospital (TWH) created a Neurovascular Unit (NVU) using resources from General Internal Medicine, Neurology, and Neurosurgery for patients with stroke and acute neurovascular conditions. Under resource-constrained conditions, the operational and economic impacts of the Neurovascular Unit were unknown.
Methods: Retrospective patient-level data was studied from two years prior and one year post NVU implementation. Descriptive statistical analysis and non-parametric testing were conducted on the acute length of stay (LOS), alternate level of care LOS, total cost per bed-day and per visit, and patient flow within each medical service and hospital wide.
Results: The median acute LOS per hospitalization for NVU-eligible patients decreased significantly (p=0.001). For Neurology patients, mean acute LOS decreased from 9.1 days pre-Neurovascular Unit to 7.6 days post and median acute LOS decreased from 6 to 5 days (p=0.002); however, mean alternate level of care LOS per visit more than doubled (from 1.6 to 4.1 days, p=0.001). For the Neurology service, the mean cost per visit decreased by $945, representing a 5% reduction (p=0.042) and the mean cost per bed-day decreased by $233, or 12.5% (p=0.026). Hospital wide, a saving of over C$450 000 was achieved.
Conclusions: During the first year of operation, the NVU at TWH achieved decreased acute LOS per visit and lowered the total hospitalization cost per year for NVU-eligible patients. Addressing the issue of increased alternate level of care LOS could result in additional efficiencies.