Unexpectedly Intriguing!
October 17, 2013

What are the odds that you will need serious medical care?

By "serious medical care", most people will automatically think of a situation where they might need to be admitted to a hospital to receive care for an unforeseen condition, so that's the standard we'll use to answer that question.

Beyond that, we'll break the information down by age and sex, simply because we can see these being major factors that might affect how likely a person will need hospital care.

It turns out to be a really difficult question to answer, because the U.S., which is where we first sought to get hospital utilization data, tracks hospital discharges - not admissions. The problem with that is that the number of admissions won't necessarily track with the number of discharges, as patients die or perhaps otherwise leave the hospital before being officially discharged.

So we turned elsewhere to answer the question, and specifically to the island nation of Singapore, whose Ministry of Health makes the data not only easy to find, but presents it in a way that helps us answer our specific questions. Our first chart below illustrates the 2011 hospital admission rates by age group and sex per each 1,000 members of Singapore's resident population:

Singapore: 2011 Number of Hospital Admissions per 1,000 Population, (Excludes Normal Deliveries and Legalized Abortions)

One interesting aspect of the data is that we see such high numbers for the 0-4 age group, which drops off dramatically for the 5-9 age group, which really didn't make a whole lot of sense to us at first. Why would a 4-year old have such a dramatically higher probability of being admitted to a hospital over a 5-year old?

We started thinking about it, and realized that the MOH's statisticians gave us a valuable clue - the number of hospital admissions for each 1,000 members of Singapore's resident population doesn't include hospitalizations associated with either normal deliveries for pregnancy or legalized abortions.

While both of these categories would count as foreseeable conditions, we suspect that the reason in the case of normal deliveries was in part to avoid double-counting. Here, where normal deliveries are concerned, we suspect that infants born in Singapore's hospitals are subsequently "admitted" to the hospital after being born, which is how the hospital admissions associated with normal deliveries are tracked.

Beyond that, we can see that the rate of hospital admissions for women of child-bearing age is over twice that of men of the same age, which likely corresponds to pregnancies that involved complicating factors requiring more intensive care, which would not count as a foreseeable condition.

Update 23 October 2013: We've refined our initial analysis to more accurately depict the probability of both males and females needing to be admitted to a hospital by age. Our original analysis appears in the shaded box below the updated analysis.

Let's first look at our more refined analysis of the probability of hospital admission for men from Age 0 through Age 84:

Probability of Hospital Admission for Men by Age (Singapore 2011)

And now for women, again from Age 0 through Age 84:

Probability of Hospital Admission for Women by Age (Singapore 2011)

In refining our original analysis, we broke the trend for both men and women up into smaller age ranges, which allowed us to more accurately model the probability of hospital admission for both. As you can see above, for men, the result is a fairly smooth-looking curve from Age 0 through Age 84, while for women, there would appear to be a relatively sharp transition from Age 24 to Age 25, coinciding with the "complicated delivery" baby bump.

This outcome is in part due to how we grafted the mathematical models behind the data together at this point - we would expect that if the Singapore Ministry of Health's data was refined to present hospital admission rates by single years of age, we would see a much smoother transition at this point. As it stands, these refined charts should still closely approximate the actual data.

Looking at the differences in the data between men and women, we see that boys are more likely to be admitted to a hospital before Age 4, after which we see that both boys and girls have similar odds up until child-bearing becomes a factor. At that point, women are much more likely to require hospital admission than men (likely for the reasons we noted earlier), up until their mid-forties, after which, men become much more likely to require hospital admission.

The longer lifespan of women with respect to men likely explains that discrepancy, although we were surprised to see how wide that gap was by Age 84, with women having a 58% probability of being admitted to a hospital and men having almost a 66% probability.

References

Singapore Ministry of Health. Hospital Admission Rates* by Age and Sex 2011. [Online Report]. 10 November 2012. Accessed 8 October 2013.

Original Comments

Update: Original text appears below - superseded by analysis above.

Having worked out why that apparent anomaly exists, we used that knowledge to determine the probability of being admitted to a hospital for both men and women by age, reverse engineering Singapore's age-group based data to approximate the odds by single year of age from Age 0 through Age 84:

Probability of Hospital Admission for Men by Age (Singapore 2011)

Note how nearly 100% of those 0-year olds are admitted to the hospital! Next, let's look at the same data for women from Age 0 to Age 84:

Probability of Hospital Admission for Women by Age (Singapore 2011)

In looking at the differences in the data between men and women, we see that boys are more likely to be admitted to a hospital before Age 4, after which we see that both boys and girls have similar odds up until child-bearing becomes a factor. At that point, women are much more likely to require hospital admission than men (likely for the reasons we noted earlier), up until their mid-forties, after which, men become much more likely to require hospital admission.

The longer lifespan of women with respect to men likely explains that discrepancy, although we were surprised to see how wide that gap was by Age 84, with women having a 50% probability of being admitted to a hospital and men having almost a 90% probability.

Labels: , ,

About Political Calculations



blog advertising
is good for you

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

Thanks in advance!

Recent Posts

Applications

This year, we'll be experimenting with a number of apps to bring more of a current events focus to Political Calculations - we're test driving the app(s) below!

Most Popular Posts
Quick Index

Site Data

This site is primarily powered by:

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Visitors since December 6, 2004:

CSS Validation

Valid CSS!

RSS Site Feed

AddThis Feed Button

JavaScript

The tools on this site are built using JavaScript. If you would like to learn more, one of the best free resources on the web is available at W3Schools.com.

Other Cool Resources

Blog Roll

Market Links
Charities We Support
Recommended Reading
Recommended Viewing
Recently Shopped

Seeking Alpha Certified

Archives
Legal Disclaimer

Materials on this website are published by Political Calculations to provide visitors with free information and insights regarding the incentives created by the laws and policies described. However, this website is not designed for the purpose of providing legal, medical or financial advice to individuals. Visitors should not rely upon information on this website as a substitute for personal legal, medical or financial advice. While we make every effort to provide accurate website information, laws can change and inaccuracies happen despite our best efforts. If you have an individual problem, you should seek advice from a licensed professional in your state, i.e., by a competent authority with specialized knowledge who can apply it to the particular circumstances of your case.