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EunKyo Kang 1 Article
Changes in the Hospital Standardized Mortality Ratio Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Disaggregated Analysis by Region and Hospital Type in Korea
EunKyo Kang, Won Mo Jang, Min Sun Shin, Hyejin Lee, Jin Yong Lee
J Prev Med Public Health. 2023;56(2):180-189.   Published online March 20, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.22.479
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Objectives
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a global shortage of medical resources; therefore, we investigated whether COVID-19 impacted the quality of non-COVID-19 hospital care in Korea by comparing hospital standardized mortality rates (HSMRs) before and during the pandemic.
Methods
This retrospective cohort study analyzed Korean National Health Insurance discharge claim data obtained from January to June in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. Patients’ in-hospital deaths were classified according to the most responsible diagnosis categories. The HSMR is calculated as the ratio of expected deaths to actual deaths. The time trend in the overall HSMR was analyzed by region and hospital type.
Results
The final analysis included 2 252 824 patients. In 2020, the HSMR increased nationwide (HSMR, 99.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 97.7 to 101.0) in comparison to 2019 (HSMR, 97.3; 95% CI, 95.8 to 98.8). In the COVID-19 pandemic zone, the HSMR increased significantly in 2020 (HSMR, 112.7; 95% CI, 107.0 to 118.7) compared to 2019 (HSMR, 101.7; 95% CI, 96.9 to 106.6). The HSMR in all general hospitals increased significantly in 2020 (HSMR, 106.4; 95% CI, 104.3 to 108.5) compared to 2019 (HSMR, 100.3; 95% CI, 98.4 to 102.2). Hospitals participating in the COVID-19 response had a lower HSMR (HSMR, 95.6; 95% CI, 93.9 to 97.4) than hospitals not participating in the COVID-19 response (HSMR, 124.3; 95% CI, 119.3 to 129.4).
Conclusions
This study suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic may have negatively impacted the quality of care in hospitals, especially general hospitals with relatively few beds. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to prevent excessive workloads in hospitals and to properly employ and coordinate the workforce.
Summary
Korean summary
코로나19 대유행 지역은 비감염 지역과 달리 2019년에 비해 2020년에 HSMR이 크게 증가했고, 상대적으로 병상 수가 적은 종합병원에서 HSMR이 증가했다. 코로나19 대응에 참여하는 병원은 병원 규모와 관계없이 HSMR이 낮은 경향을 보였다. 감염병 유행 시 병원의 과도한 업무량이 부여되지 않게하고 인력을 적절하게 고용하여 조정하는 것이 필요하다.

JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health