The average day spent in a U.S. hospital costs anywhere from 6 to 25 times the cost of staying in a hospital for a day in the world’s other industrialized nations. Maybe that’s because we have cable television in the room? It’s actually hard to imagine what could account for such a wide disparity in prices. What happens if we take into account the average length of stay and take a look at the average hospital stay?
Surprisingly, the gap narrows slightly. What does this mean? That patients in U.S. hospitals have, on average, shorter lengths of stay than they do in other industrialized nations. It’s not possible to tell from these data whether the difference is statistically significant, or whether there’s any relationship between length of stay and quality of outcomes, but if we want to feel better about ourselves as a nation, I suppose we can take pride in the fact that we seem to keep people in the hospital for less time than other countries do. Hooray!