Weekend hospital care not as prompt as weekday care

Weekend hospital admissions could be bad for your health. Alarmingly, hospitals are less likely to perform a major procedure on a patient on the same day as admission if that patient was admitted over the weekend, than on a patient admitted during a weekday, according to new findings by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality(AHRQ).

Only 36 percent of major procedures for weekend-admitted patients took place on the actual day of admission. On the other hand, 65 percent of major procedures for weekday-admitted patients took place on the day of admission, AHRQ reports. Furthermore, the percentage of patients admitted on a weekend who died (2.4 percent) was higher than that of patients admitted on a weekday (1.8 percent).

While no justifications were discovered for such statistics, AHRQ did find that more patients admitted on weekends went through the emergency department. Sixty-five percent of patients admitted over the weekend were admitted through the ED, while only 44 percent of patients admitted on a weekday went through the ED. 

"Most patients entering the hospital on weekends usually do so because of a medical emergency," the study reads. "Although the delay in treatment may be related to the scheduled nature of weekday procedures, it may also be an indicator of quality of care."

The study, which looked at data from 2007, determined that for roughly 923,000 patients, childbirth was the reason for admission, by far the most common reason. Pneumonia was the second most common reason for weekend admission, with 286,000 discharges recorded. 

To learn more:
- read this AHRQ press release
- here's the study