What are inpatient days?
Inpatient days are the days during which patients receive medical services at a facility. This metric is generally calculated based on a daily census spanning a specific time period. For example, if the period is one week, the daily inpatient census is calculated for each day and summed together to find the total inpatient days for the week.
Why is it important to measure inpatient days?
Dividing the number of inpatient days by the number of admissions or discharges within the specified time period provides the average length of stay. Length of stay (LOS) is an important metric to track and minimize, as longer lengths of stay often result in an increased risk of healthcare-associated infections and, resultingly, in poorer patient outcomes.
Additionally, measuring inpatient days allows hospitals to see which departments service more patients, which can help them choose where to allocate resources and funding.