Is compliance with hospital accreditation associated with length of stay and acute readmission? A Danish nationwide population-based study

Int J Qual Health Care. 2015 Dec;27(6):451-8. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzv070. Epub 2015 Oct 1.


Objective: To examine the association between compliance with hospital accreditation and length of stay (LOS) and acute readmission (AR).

Design: A nationwide population-based follow-up study from November 2009 to December 2012.

Setting: Public, non-psychiatric Danish hospitals.

Participants: In-patients admitted with one of 80 diagnoses.

Intervention: Accreditation by the first version of The Danish Healthcare Quality Programme. Using an on-site survey, surveyors assessed the level of compliance with the standards. The hospital was awarded either fully (n = 11) or partially accredited (n = 20).

Main outcome measures: LOS including transfers between hospitals and all-cause AR within 30 days after discharge. The Cox Proportional Hazard regression was used to compute hazard ratios (HRs) adjusted for potential confounding factors and cluster effect at hospital level.

Results: For analyses of LOS, 275 589 in-patients were included of whom 266 532 were discharged alive and included in the AR analyses. The mean LOS was 4.51 days (95% confidence interval (CI): 4.46-4.57) at fully and 4.54 days (95% CI: 4.50-4.57) at partially accredited hospitals, respectively. After adjusting for confounding factors, the adjusted HR for time to discharge was 1.07 (95% CI: 1.01-1.14). AR within 30 days after discharge was 13.70% (95% CI: 13.45-13.95) at fully and 12.72% (95% CI: 12.57-12.86) at partially accredited hospitals, respectively, corresponding to an adjusted HR of 1.01 (95% CI: 0.92-1.10).

Conclusion: Admissions at fully accredited hospitals were associated with a shorter LOS compared with admissions at partially accredited hospitals, although the difference was modest. No difference was observed in AR within 30 days after discharge.

Keywords: certification/accreditation of hospitals; external quality assessment, readmissions; length of stay.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Hospitals, Public / standards*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Length of Stay*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Readmission*
  • Proportional Hazards Models