Comparing Patient Safety in Rural Hospitals by Bed Count


Reports results of a study to determine how patient safety rates, offered services, and patient mix vary by bed count among rural hospitals. The authors found that small rural hospitals had rates of potential patient safety events that were significantly lower than those of large rural hospitals for three of the 19 patient safety indicators (PSIs). The types of services offered by rural hospitals varied significantly according to bed numbers, and the likelihood of an offered service increased as bed counts increased. The types of patients treated by rural hospitals, however, did not vary significantly by bed count. The results suggest that rural hospitals differ substantially by offered services and differ somewhat in PSI rates, relative to bed counts. But given the limited information on patient severity using administrative data, future research should look to develop more effective ways to account for patient severity when measuring patient safety rates among hospitals with varying bed counts.

Maine Rural Health Research Center, Upper Midwest Rural Health Research Center
Stephenie Loux, Susan M. C. Payne, Astrid Knott