Medical Observation at the Community Level: A Two Year Study

Ronald Lagoe, James Abbott, Shelly Littau



Ambulatory care is being used to improve health care utilization and expenses in the United States. This has included the use of medical observation in hospitals. As implemented by Medicare, the Medical Observation program has included minimal criteria.


This study was based on a program developed by the Syracuse hospitals and the Hospital Executive Council. It included the collection and distribution of data concerning medical observation patients from the three area hospitals. The program was initiated in 2017. The hospitals have employed this program to understand and monitor medical observation in the community.


The study demonstrated that, during a two year period, medical observation patients accounted for 24 – 28 percent of the adult medicine observation and inpatients combined during most calendar quarters. Differences among these percentages have declined between July 2017 and June 2019. The study also demonstrated that clinical characteristics of 67. 3 percent of observation patients in the community during this period have included circulatory, digestive, neurologic, digestive, and urologic diagnoses.


The study suggested that the community wide approach to the understanding and use of medical observation data in hospitals can be useful.


Observation, Hospitals, Ambulatory Care


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