Appropriateness of hospital use: An overview of italian studies

G. Fellin, G. Apolone, A. Tampieri1, L. Bevilacqua, G. Meregalli, C. Minella, A. Liberati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports on the general features and findings of 11 studies conducted in Italy on appropriateness of hospital admission and days of stay using the Appropriateness Evaluation Protocol (AEP). Studies have been grouped for presentation in two categories. The first comprises six heterogeneous studies illustrating different ways of targeting the use of the AEP: two used it to assess appropriateness of admission in an emergency room setting, two measured appropriateness of days of stay in patients with AIDS and nosocomial infections and finally two others evaluated hospital days in a group of elderly patients and "before and after" the institution of a domiciliary nursing service, respectively. The second group comprises five more homogeneous utilization review studies aimed at assessing inappropriateness of admissions and days of stay in medical/surgical departments of large hospitals in northern Italy. Besides detecting a substantial amount of inappropriateness in admission (range = 25-38%) and days of stay (range = 28-49%) this latter group of studies suggests that delays in execution and reporting of laboratory investigations, unavailability of operating rooms and delays due to difficulties in transferring patients to long-term care facilities are the most common causes of inappropriate days of stay. Despite the differences in their objectives, design and methods of sampling, these studies indicate that an explicit, diagnosis-independent and standardized instrument such as the AEP can help to uncover a substantial amount of the potentially avoidable use of hospital resources in the Italian context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-225
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal for Quality in Health Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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