A new study has found that the use of oral nutritional supplements provided to pediatric patients during hospitalization was associated with a decrease in length of stay of 14.8 percent and a decrease in hospital stay costs of $1,768 per patient. The study, conducted by leading researchers at the University of Southern California, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Precision Health Economics, and supported by Abbott, is being presented this weekend at the 2013 North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) Annual Meeting in Chicago.
The 11-year retrospective study (2000-2010) was analyzed using the Premier Research Database, which contains data on more than half a million hospitalized pediatric cases for patients aged 2 to 8 years. This study is the latest in health economics and outcomes research to illustrate the impact of oral nutrition supplement use in hospitalized patients.
"Malnutrition in children is associated with poor health outcomes and this is especially important in the hospitalized child," said Maria Mascarenhas, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Nutritional support is a critical component of the clinical management for pediatric inpatients, but it is often overlooked due to other medical issues."
In the study, investigators were able to determine differences in length of stay and cost of care by comparing hospital stays in which oral nutritional supplements were prescribed to hospital stays of similar conditions where oral nutritional supplements weren't prescribed.
Oral nutritional supplements are dietary food, often in liquid form, that provide protein, nutrients and calories for added nutrition and energy in one's diet.
"While other studies have examined the use of nutritional supplements in adults, prior to this study there weren't any that rigorously quantified the impact of oral nutritional supplements on health economic outcomes in the general pediatric population," said Darius Lakdawalla, Ph.D., University of Southern California. "These results suggest that nutritional solutions can be a cost-effective approach to improving pediatric patients' hospital care."
"Through its leadership in nutrition health economics and outcomes research, Abbott is demonstrating the potential that nutritional intervention can have for the health of children and adult patients, and the cost savings for hospitals," said Robert H. Miller, Ph.D., divisional vice president, Global Research &Development and Scientific Affairs for Abbott Nutrition. "This is important in the midst of the changing healthcare landscape as hospitals seek effective interventions to help improve patient quality of care and reduce overall costs."