An hypothesis paper on practice environment and the provision of health care: could hospital occupancy rates effect quality?

J Qual Clin Pract. 2000 Jun-Sep;20(2-3):69-74. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1762.2000.00371.x.


This paper will explore whether hospital occupancy influences quality of care. It discusses the 'systems' theory of error causation in the context of adverse medical outcomes. It then relates how high occupancy rates may cause problems in hospital systems. The evidence relating to quality of care and occupancy is reviewed. Finally, a new method of studying this relationship using time series analysis is proposed. We conclude that the relationship requires further exploration since revealing 'system' problems may compel clinicians to expose problems medical errors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bed Occupancy*
  • Health Services Research / methods
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors
  • Quality of Health Care* / standards