Healthcare utilization 9 months pre- and post-COVID-19 hospitalization among patients discharged alive

Mohammed Zaidan, Daniel Puebla Neira, Efstathia Polychronopoulou, Kuo Yong-Fang, Gulshan Sharma

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Background Emerging evidence suggests that there is an increase in healthcare utilization (HCU) in patients due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). We investigated the change in HCU pre and post hospitalization among patients discharged home from COVID-19 hospitalization for up to 9 months of follow up. Study design and methods This retrospective study from a United States cohort used Optum® de-identified Clinformatics Data Mart; it included adults discharged home post hospitalization with primary diagnosis of COVID-19 between April 2020 and March 2021. We evaluated HCU of patients 9 months pre and post -discharge from index hospitalization. We defined HCU as emergency department (ED), inpatient, outpatient (office), rehabilitation/skilled nursing facility (SNF), telemedicine visits, and length of stay, expressed as number of visits per 10,000 person-days. Results We identified 63,161 patients discharged home after COVID-19 hospitalization. The cohort of patients was mostly white (58.8%) and women (53.7%), with mean age 72.4 (SD± 12) years. These patients were significantly more likely to have increased HCU in the 9 months post hospitalization compared to the 9 months prior. Patients had a 47%, 67%, 65%, and 51% increased risk of ED (rate ratio 1.47; 95% CI 1.45–1.49; p < .0001), rehabilitation (rate ratio 1.67; 95% CI 1.61–1.73; p < .0001), office (rate ratio1.65; 95% CI 1.64–1.65; p < .0001), and telemedicine visits (rate ratio 1.5; 95% CI 1.48–1.54; p < .0001), respectively. We also found significantly different rates of HCU for women compared to men (women have higher risk of ED, rehabilitation, and telemedicine visits but a lower risk of inpatient visits, length of stay, and office visits than men) and for patients who received care in the intensive care unit (ICU) vs those who did not (ICU patients had increased risk of ED, inpatient, office, and telemedicine visits and longer length of stay but a lower risk of rehabilitation visits). Outpatient (office) visits were the highest healthcare service utilized post discharge (64.5% increase). Finally, the risk of having an outpatient visit to any of the specialties studied significantly increased post discharge. Interestingly, the risk of requiring a visit to pulmonary medicine was the highest amongst the specialties studied (rate ratio 3.35, 95% CI 3.26–3.45, p < .0001). Conclusion HCU was higher after index hospitalization compared to 9 months prior among patients discharged home post-COVID-19 hospitalization. The increases in HCU may be driven by those patients who received care in the ICU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0303509
JournalPloS one
Issue number6 June
StatePublished - Jun 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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