Randomized controlled trial of feedback on cost of hospital care among gastroenterology inpatients.
Ir J Med Sci. 2013 Sep;182(3):503-7
Authors: Slattery E, Harewood GC, Clancy KX, Murray F, Patchett S
INTRODUCTION: Spending on hospital inpatients comprises a major proportion of healthcare costs. This study assessed the impact of systematic feedback to gastroenterologists on the cost of care provided to inpatients on a gastrointestinal/hepatology (GIH) hospital service.
METHODS: Patients with a GIH diagnosis were randomly assigned to be cared for by one of two hospital services. Over 3 months, teams were randomized to receive feedback (GIH A) or no feedback (GIH B, control group); feedback consisted of an email sent twice weekly to all physicians on the GIH A service detailing the length of stay (LOS) and real-time cost of care accrued by each inpatient.
RESULTS: Over 3 months, care was provided to 56 (GIH A) and 47 (GIH B) inpatients with a GIH illness. Patient complexity level was similar for both services as demonstrated by mean relative value: 1.11 (GIH A) vs. 1.27 (GIH B), p=0.2. Weighted LOS and weighted cost of care values were calculated to adjust for the respective RV of each patient. Mean weighted LOS (10.8 [GIH A] vs. 13.8 days/pt [GIH B], p=0.02) and mean weighted cost of care (9,904 [GIH A] vs. 12,654 euros/pt [GIH B], p=0.02) were significantly lower in the feedback group. Subsequent hospital readmission rates did not differ among both groups.
CONCLUSION: Systematic feedback on cost of care was associated with lower healthcare costs without compromising quality. Incorporating a running total of patient costs into computer software used to order patient tests may represent one approach to controlling healthcare expenses.
PMID: 23423495 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]