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Ten-Year Retrospective Comparative Analysis of Inpatient and Outpatient Care Utilization Patterns in Polish Healthcare

Antoni Zyśk1, Inga Magda2, Kamila Kosyra2, Zuzanna Marczyńska3, Marta Drabczyk4


Introduction and purpose: Ambulatory healthcare plays a crucial role in the overall healthcare system, providing a range of services that are designed to be delivered on an outpatient basis. Offering preventive care, health education, managing chronic diseases and non-life-threatening urgent situations may alleviate the burden on hospitals and provide high-quality, time- and cost-effective healthcare system. In this study authors conduct a retrospective comparative analysis of inpatient and outpatient healthcare trends based on data provided by the Central Statistics Office of Poland in ten years period between 2012 and 2022. Materials and methods: This retrospective study was conducted using publicly available healthcare data sourced from databases provided by the Central Statistics Office of Poland. Results: The analysis reveals significant increase in the average annual number of outpatient visits per person (6,69 +/- 0,39 vs. 7,70 +/- 0,56; p < 0,001) and decrease in annual hospitalizations per person (0,20 +/- 0,02 vs. 0,18 +/- 0,02; p < 0,001) during past decade. In addition, significant increase of annual number of visits per person to both specialists (2,66 +/- 0,36 vs. 2,99 +/- 0,55; p < 0,001) and general practitioners (4,04 +/- 0,26 vs. 4,71 +/- 0,34; p < 0,001) were noted. Noteworthy, in Mazowieckie voivodeship data reveals distinct healthcare service utilization pattern with more frequent specialized care and less frequent primary care outpatient visits in comparison to other polish provinces. During COVID-19 pandemic, across whole country, substantial decrease in both hospitalization rates (0,19 +/- 0,02 vs. 0,15 +/- 0,01; p < 0,001) and outpatient visits (4,57 +/- 0,25 vs. 4,13 +/- 0,26; p < 0,001) per person were noted. Conclusions: This study indicate a significant shift in healthcare utilization patterns towards outpatient services, and a corresponding decline in hospitalization rates during past ten years across Poland.

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