The teaching hospital's growing surgical caseload.
A competitive marketplace potentially creates new pressures for teaching hospitals. To assess possible trends in teaching hospitals' caseload, we studied surgical utilization in 1972 and 1981 using two national data sets. The percentage of total patients hospitalized for surgery increased in teaching hospitals between 1972 and 1981. Nonteaching hospitals adopted several new procedures, such as hip arthroplasty. However, increased volume attributable to the spread of procedures to additional hospitals was small when compared with volume increases experienced by hospitals that performed these procedures in 1972. Teaching hospitals' caseloads grew for well-established surgical procedures such as cholecystectomy, delivery, and mastectomy and for newer, high-technology procedures such as hip arthroplasty and coronary artery surgery. Overall surgical case complexity was relatively high in teaching hospitals in 1972, and the disparity with nonteaching hospitals increased during the decade. Distribution of surgical patients by payment source varied appreciably among surgical procedures, but not among hospitals by teaching status. Teaching hospitals were successful in attracting patients from 1972 to 1981; however, several new pressures are emerging that should be watched.
Sloan, FA; Perrin, JM; Valvona, J
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