Episode-based cost reduction for endovascular aneurysm repair. Journal of vascular surgery Itoga, N. K., Tang, N., Patterson, D., Ohkuma, R., Lew, R., Mell, M. W., Dalman, R. L. 2018


OBJECTIVE: Effective strategies to reduce costs associated with endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) remain elusive for many medical centers. In this study, targeted interventions to reduce inpatient EVAR costs were identified and implemented.METHODS: From June 2015 to February 2016, we analyzed the EVAR practice at a high-volume academic medical center to identify, to rank, and ultimately to reduce procedure-related costs. In this analysis, per-patient direct costs to the hospital were compared before (September 2013-May 2015) and after (March 2016-January 2017) interventions were implemented. Improvement efforts concentrated on three categories that accounted for a majority of costs: implants, rooming costs, and computed tomography scans performed during the index hospitalization.RESULTS: Costs were compared between 141 EVAR procedures before implementation (PRE period) and 47 EVAR procedures after implementation (POST period). Based on data obtained through the Society for Vascular Surgery EVAR Cost Demonstration Project, it was determined that implantable device costs were higher than those at peer institutions. New purchasing strategies were implemented, resulting in a 30.8% decrease in per-case device costs between the PRE and POST periods. Care pathways were modified to reduce use of and costs for computed tomography scans obtained during the index hospitalization. Compared with baseline, per-case imaging costs decreased by 92.9% (P< .001), including a 99.0% (P= .001) reduction in postprocessing costs. Care pathways were also implemented to reduce preprocedural rooming for patients traveling long distances the day before surgery, resulting in a 50% decrease in utilization rate (35.4% PRE to 17.0% POST; P= .021), without having a significant impact on median postprocedural length of stay (PRE, 2days [interquartile range, 1-11days]; POST, 2days [1-7days]; P= .185). Medication costs also decreased by 38.2% (P< .001) as a hospital-wide effort.CONCLUSIONS: Excessive costs associated with EVAR threaten the sustainability of these procedures in health care organizations. Targeted cost reduction efforts can effectively reduce expenses without compromising quality or limiting patients' access.

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