Usage of day-hospitals is growing

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Day-hospital group Advanced Health’s share price leapt after it said that 45% more patients were admitted at its hospitals in November than in the previous November. Business Day reports that the group, which has 10 private day hospitals, said there was significant interest in day-hospital services with further plans by the industry to support the growth and development of such facilities in 2018. Advanced Health said medical aid schemes favoured performing more same-day procedures in day hospitals.

According to the Day Hospital Association of SA more than 60% of surgical procedures could be conducted in these facilities. They were also “less traumatic” than acute hospitals and patients were less likely to be exposed to hospital-acquired infections.

The report says fewer than 20% of operations were performed in these facilities. In the five months to November, Advanced Health treated 36% more patients at its facilities. The number of patients treated in November were 17% higher than in October. This indicated a change in fortunes for the company, which reported in August that the loss at its South African operations widened to R22.5m for the year to June, from R20.5m in the prior year.

Advanced Health COO Bibi Goss-Ross said that in 2018 vigorous action would be taken to increase interaction with funders and specialists to garner support for day hospitals coupled with intensive communication of the benefits of these facilities to funders, specialists and the end consumer would be undertaken.

“We believe there must be one-day hospital in every vicinity where there’s an acute hospital to create competition and offer patients opportunities of differentiation,” Goss-Ross said.

The report says Medical aid schemes such as Bonitas, Polmed, Gems, Medscheme, Discovery, Sizwe, Bestmed were among advocates of day-hospital usage.

The Day Hospital Association of SA represents 45-member hospitals compared with the more than 6,000 day hospitals utilised in the US.

Advanced Heath said anti-competitive strategies by its competitors and a lack of familiarity with the concept remained barriers of entry. While the need for a doctor’s referral to be admitted was also a challenge in a country where so few specialists were available.

Advanced Health CFO Carel Snyman said the cost model of day hospitals lowered prices for patients as there were fewer bills to pay and it did not involve costs of large catering facilities, intensive-care units and specialised theatres, overnight beds, after-hour staff costs and emergency units.

Business Day report

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