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Making sense of the French public hospital system: a network-based approach to hospital clustering using unsupervised learning methods

Abstract : Background: Hospitals in the public and private sectors tend to join larger organizations to form hospital groups. This increasingly frequent mode of functioning raises the question of how countries should organize their health system, according to the interactions already present between their hospitals. The objective of this study was to identify distinctive profiles of French hospitals according to their characteristics and their role in the French hospital network. Methods: Data were extracted from the national hospital database for year 2016. The database was restricted to public hospitals that practiced medicine, surgery or obstetrics. Hospitals profiles were determined using the k-means method. The variables entered in the clustering algorithm were: the number of stays, the effective diversity of hospital activity, and a network-based mobility indicator (proportion of stays followed by another stay in a different hospital of the same Regional Hospital Group within 90 days). Results: Three hospital groups were identified by the clustering algorithm. The first group was constituted of 34 large hospitals (median 82,100 annual stays, interquartile range 69,004-117,774) with a very diverse activity. The second group contained medium-sized hospitals (with a median of 258 beds, interquartile range 164-377). The third group featured less diversity regarding the type of stay (with a mean of 8 effective activity domains, standard deviation 2.73), a smaller size and a higher proportion of patients that subsequently visited other hospitals (11%). The most frequent type of patient mobility occurred from the hospitals in group 2 to the hospitals in group 1 (29%). The reverse direction was less frequent (19%). Conclusions: The French hospital network is organized around three categories of public hospitals, with an unbalanced and disassortative patient flow. This type of organization has implications for hospital planning and infectious diseases control.
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Submitted on : Monday, December 13, 2021 - 2:29:07 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, December 15, 2021 - 3:57:51 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, March 14, 2022 - 7:06:54 PM


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Jan Chrusciel, Adrien Le Guillou, Eric Daoud, David Laplanche, Sandra Steunou, et al.. Making sense of the French public hospital system: a network-based approach to hospital clustering using unsupervised learning methods. BMC Health Services Research, BioMed Central, 2021, 21 (1), pp.1244. ⟨10.1186/s12913-021-07215-4⟩. ⟨inserm-03477470⟩



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