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Irving-based Company Projects Continued Constraints for Patient Access to Care

Sg2, a Vizient, Inc. company, has released its 2024 Impact of Change® report, projecting ongoing constraints on patient access to emergency department (ED) and inpatient (IP) care. The report highlights that an aging population and an increased incidence of chronic diseases, including behavioral health conditions, will drive IP and outpatient (OP) volumes higher over the next decade.

Key projections from the report include a 3% rise in IP utilization to 31 million annual discharges and a 9% increase in IP days to 170 million. This growth will challenge healthcare organizations in managing patient flow, with medical discharges outpacing surgical ones due to aging and comorbid patients, leading to ED bottlenecks as patients wait for IP beds.

In the OP setting, volumes are expected to jump 17% to 5.82 billion, with significant growth in OP surgical services and chronic care management. The Impact of Change® report analyzes healthcare demand across service lines and sites of care for over 27,000 unique disease and procedure combinations.

Other notable findings include:

  • Behavioral Health: IP discharges and OP volumes will grow 8% and 26%, respectively, adding pressure on primary care and psychotherapy services.
  • Bariatric Surgery: IP bariatric surgery volumes will decline 15%, while OP bariatric surgeries are expected to increase 13%, driven by new pharmaceuticals and shifts in surgical settings.
  • Virtual Care: By 2034, 23% of evaluation and management visits will be delivered virtually, particularly for chronic diseases, while surgical-related services will see less virtual uptake.
  • Care at Home: Further enabled by virtual capabilities, home health is expected to grow 22%. As the aging, high-acuity patient population continues to require longer stays in the hospital (9% IP growth), organizations must be intentional about how they plan their IP and OP service line strategies. “How many bed days could care at home save? What other capacity constraints could be relieved by a robust care at home offering? These are questions organizations should be asking to ensure resources are effectively deployed in a manner that achieves high quality outcomes for patients,” Richie said.

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