Quantifying the Economic Impact of Provider Volume Through Adverse Events: The Case of Sports Medicine.
BACKGROUND: Procedures performed by surgeons with higher provider volumes offer advantages both to the individual patient and the health system, with studies documenting fewer adverse events, shorter surgical times, and decreased reoperation rates. With workforce requirements for surgeons growing, it is increasingly necessary to establish the most efficient structure of this workforce. HYPOTHESIS: Substantial economic savings are realized when procedures are performed by high-volume providers as compared with low-volume providers in the areas of readmission, prolonged admission, and subsequent surgery. STUDY DESIGN: Economic and decision analysis; Level of evidence, 2. METHODS: This study utilized decision modeling to estimate the cost savings to high-volume providers in sports medicine. Simple decision models were constructed for 3 common procedures: anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, rotator cuff repair, and total shoulder arthroplasty. Outcome probabilities for adverse events (readmission, prolonged admission, and subsequent surgery) and costs were taken from the literature. A Monte Carlo simulation reflecting the incidence of these procedures in the United States was performed to estimate the total nationwide cost of these procedures, and the impact of both negative and positive policies on this cost were examined using sensitivity analysis. RESULTS: The costs per case attributable to adverse outcomes for ACL reconstruction (in 2010 US$) were $496, $781, and $868 for high-, medium-, and low-volume providers, respectively. For rotator cuff repair, these numbers were $523, $640, and $872, and for total shoulder arthroplasty, $1692, $1876, and $2021, respectively. Sensitivity analysis revealed that a 50% increase in the number of these 3 procedures performed by high-volume surgeons could save the health system $23.1 million. If all procedures were performed by high-volume surgeons, the health system could save $72 million. CONCLUSION: The hypothesis was accepted; higher provider volumes for surgeons do convey substantial societal economic benefits. Policies to incentivize and facilitate a greater portion of procedures being performed by high-volume surgeons may increase the efficiency of resource utilization in health care delivery.
Scott, DJ; Sherman, S; Dhawan, A; Cole, BJ; Bach, BR; Mather, RC
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