A High Psychiatrist-Patient Ratio May Help Prevent Prolonged Hospitalization in Acute Psychiatric Units - Institute for Health Economics and Policy

TOKYO--()--Patients who are cared for in acute psychiatric units with high psychiatrist-patient ratios may have lower risks of prolonged hospitalization and readmission, according to a study published by Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.

Poor staffing is a major impediment to the provision of high-quality care. Until recently, little was known about the effect of psychiatrist staffing on outcomes in acute psychiatric care. Yasuyuki Okumura, PhD, of the Institute for Health Economics and Policy, Tokyo, and colleagues, examined the association between high psychiatrist-patient ratio and outcomes in 24,678 patients who were newly admitted to acute psychiatric units. Okumura and colleagues focused on the Japanese National Health Insurance policy that acute psychiatric units with high staffing (at least one psychiatrist per 16 patients) can be reimbursed with an additional fee of 5,000 yen per patient per day, although standard psychiatrist staffing was defined as at least one psychiatrist per 48 patients.

The researchers found that the risk of prolonged hospitalization (>90 days) was 16.9% in the units with high psychiatrist-patient ratios and 21.3% in the units with low psychiatrist-patient ratios. At 90 days after discharge, the risk of psychiatric readmission was 13.0% in the units with higher psychiatrist-patient ratios and 14.4% in the units with lower psychiatrist-patient ratios.

The authors suggested that a financial incentive for units that have high psychiatrist-patient ratios might be a potential solution not only to increase the quality of care, but also to reduce the duration of psychiatric hospitalization in the population.

For more details and to read the full study, please visit the website.


Institute for Health Economics and Policy
Yasuyuki Okumura, PhD, +81-3-3506-8529