The Accuracy of Interqual Criteria in Determining the Observation versus Inpatient Status in Older Adults with Syncope

Anna Marie Chang, Judd E. Hollander, Erica Su, Robert E. Weiss, Annick N. Yagapen, Susan E. Malveau, David H. Adler, Aveh Bastani, Christopher W. Baugh, Jeffrey M. Caterino, Carol L. Clark, Deborah B. Diercks, Bret A. Nicks, Daniel K. Nishijima, Manish N. Shah, Kirk A. Stiffler, Alan B. Storrow, Scott T. Wilber, Benjamin C. Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: McKesson's InterQual criteria are widely used in hospitals to determine if patients should be classified as observation or inpatient status, but the accuracy of the criteria is unknown. Objective: We sought to determine whether InterQual criteria accurately predicted length of stay (LOS) in older patients with syncope. Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis of a cohort study of adults ≥60 years of age who had syncope. We calculated InterQual criteria and classified the patient as observation or inpatient status. Outcomes were whether LOS were less than or greater than 2 midnights. Results: We analyzed 2361 patients; 1227 (52.0%) patients were male and 1945 (82.8%) were white, with a mean age of 73.2 ± 9.0 years. The median LOS was 32.6 h (interquartile range 24.2–71.8). The sensitivity of InterQual criteria for LOS was 60.8% (95% confidence interval 57.9–63.6%) and the specificity was 47.8% (95% confidence interval 45.0–50.5%). Conclusions: In older adults with syncope, those who met InterQual criteria for inpatient status had longer LOS compared with those who did not; however, the accuracy of the criteria to predict length of stay over 2 days is poor, with a sensitivity of 60% and a specificity of 48%. Future research should identify criteria to improve LOS prediction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-200
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • InterQual
  • case management
  • geriatrics
  • syncope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'The Accuracy of Interqual Criteria in Determining the Observation versus Inpatient Status in Older Adults with Syncope'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this