A short-stay unit for thyroidectomy patients increases discharge efficiency

Sara Vrabec, Sarah C. Oltmann, Nicholas Clark, Herbert Chen, Rebecca S. Sippel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Patients traditionally recover overnight on a general surgery ward after a thyroidectomy; however, these units often lack the efficiency and focus for rapid discharge, which is the goal of a short-stay (SS) unit. Using an SS unit for thyroidectomy patients, who are often discharged in <24 h, may reduce the duration of hospital stay and subsequently decrease associated costs and increase hospital bed and resource availability. Methods: A retrospective review of 400 patients undergoing thyroidectomy at a single academic hospital. We analyzed postoperative discharge information and hospital cost data. Adult patients who stayed a single night in the hospital were included. We compared patients staying on a designated SS unit versus a general surgery (GS) ward. Results: Atotal of 223 patientswere admitted to SS, and 177 to GS. Trends of admission location were blocked based on time period, with most patients per time period going to the same location. Discharge times were significantly quicker for patients admitted to SS (P < 0.001). A total of 70% of SS patients were discharged before noon, versus 40% of GS patients (P < 0.001). Many varianceswere identified to account for these differences.Direct costswere significantly lowerwithSS,owingtosavingsinpharmacy, recoveryroom, andnursingexpenses (all P<0.01). Conclusions: A designated short-stay hospital unit is an effective model for increasing the efficiency of discharge for thyroidectomy patients compared with those admitted to a general surgery ward. It also serves to increase bed availability, which decreases hospital cost and may improve patient flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-208
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Discharge efficiency
  • Endocrine surgery
  • Postoperative cost reduction
  • Short-stay unit
  • Thyroidectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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