Columbus, OH,
12:00 PM

OhioHealth Medical Minute: Short Stay Units


OhioHealth is on a journey to create value for our patients by making care more accessible and affordable. One way to do that is finding innovative ways to deliver care in new and different ways. Recently, an opportunity was identified to provide better care to patients with lower risk acute illness – developing short stay units (SSUs).

On January 30, OhioHealth opened SSU’s at two locations: OhioHealth Westerville Medical Campus and OhioHealth Pickerington Medical Campus. Each of these sites now includes 12 patient rooms above the emergency department on both campuses. The SSUs provide two main types of care:

  • Observation care, which has historically been provided only at hospitals
  • Higher acuity outpatient services currently, which before were only available in a hospital or emergency department (including IV medications, IV antibiotics, IV fluids, CT scan, stress testing and close physician monitoring)

“They provide observation care and outpatient care,” said Dr. Miles Hawley, OhioHealth system medical director of hospital medicine. “The outpatient care is a little more advanced than normal outpatient care with things like IV fluids or IV antibiotics. These units can also allow patients to receive care in some cases through multiple visits over a several day period.”

Patients in the SSUs will typically spend between two and 24 hours receiving care and could require repeat visits. Delivering care for low-risk acute illness in these units will decrease transfers to acute care hospitals, which can be difficult on patients and have extended delays. This also opens up acute care hospital capacity for severely ill patients that require these beds.

Currently, low risk acute care is managed in an emergency department and/or an acute care hospital. This care is costly and exposes the patient to the associated risk of hospitalization.

“These units help us make care more simple, accessible and affordable,” said Dr. Hawley.

The SSUs are staffed by OhioHealth Physician Group hospital medicine physicians, advanced practice providers and nurses.

Patients will be referred to the SSUs by an emergency or primary care physician.