• Variability in hospital costs of adult spinal deformity care

      Jacobs, Karel; Dewilde, Thibault; Vandoren, Cindy; Cardoen, Brecht; Vansteenkiste, Nancy; Scheys, Lennart; Roodhooft, Filip; Moke, Lieven; Kesteloot, Katrien (Spine, 2020)
      Objective: To calculate the total clinical hospital cost of the Adult Spinal Deformity (ASD) care trajectory, to explain cost variability by patient and surgery characteristics, and to identify areas of process improvement opportunities. Summary of background data: ASD is associated with a high financial and clinical burden on society. ASD care thus requires improved insights in costs and its drivers as a critical step toward the improvement of value, i.e., the ratio between delivered health outcome and associated costs. Methods: Patient characteristics and surgical variables were collected following ethical approval in a cohort of 139 ASD patients, treated between December, 2014 and January, 2018. Clinical hospital costs were calculated, including all care activities, from initial consultation to 1 year after initial surgery (excl. overhead) in a university hospital setting. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to analyze the impact of patient and surgical characteristics on clinical costs. Results: 75.5% of the total clinical hospital cost (€27,865) was incurred during initial surgery with costs related to the operating theatre (80.3%), nursing units (11.9%), and intensive care (2.9%) being the largest contributors. 57.5% of the variation in total cost could be explained in order of importance by surgical invasiveness, age, coronary disease, single or multiple-staged surgery, and mobility status. Revision surgery, unplanned surgery due to complications, was found to increase average costs by 87.6% compared with elective surgeries (€ 44,907 (± € 23,429) vs. € 23,944 (± € 7302)). Conclusion: This study identified opportunities for process improvement by calculating the total clinical hospital costs. In addition, it identified patient and treatment characteristics that predict 57.5% of cost variation, which could be taken into account when developing a payment system. Future research should include outcome data to assess variation in value.