Economics of Laparoscopic Surgery
Research of seven,424 privately insured colon cancer patients found that managed care presence on the market and hospital competition increased the likelihood laparoscopic surgery to treat colon cancer lowered costs, a national team of researchers led by a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health insurance and Health Services reported within the journal Cancer, May 8, 2012.
Colon cancer may be the second leading reason for cancer death in the U.S., and surgical resection may be the standard of care. In 2004, there have been approximately 134,000 colectomies performed within the U.S.
They examined whether market forces such as managed care or hospital competition affected the likelihood of an open resection, involving an extended incision and lengthy hospitalization and recovery, versus laparoscopic surgery with minimal incisions and shorter hospital stays and recoveries.
“This is really a timely analysis within the era of health care reform,” said Avi Dor, PhD, lead author and professor of health policy within the Department of Health Policy at GWU’s school of public health. “It shows that competition among providers can be harnessed to profit patients and consumers.”
A 10% increase of health maintenance organization (HMO) penetration inside a market was associated with a 10.3% increase in the effective use of laparoscopy, the researchers found. Also, utilizing a standard way of measuring hospital competition, they discovered that less competition was of a lower likelihood of laparoscopy.
They of researchers utilized a database of claims for privately insured individuals, allowing them to analyze actual payments received by payments. In fact, they found the typical cost for laparoscopy was $18,133 compared to an average cost of $21,257 for open surgery.
In reviewing the information for the 7,424 patients treated between 2002 and 2007, they adjusted for patient severity and risk. Of the 7,424 patients, 1,035 (or 13.96%) underwent laparoscopic surgery.
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