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Meic H. Schmidt, Frederick A. Boop, Neil A. Martin and Jonathan R. Slotkin

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Nancy McLaughlin, Neil A. Martin, Pooja Upadhyaya, Ausaf A. Bari, Farzad Buxey, Marilene B. Wang, Anthony P. Heaney and Marvin Bergsneider

Object

Knowledge of the costs incurred through the delivery of neurosurgical care has been lagging, making it challenging to design impactful cost-containment initiatives. In this report, the authors describe a detailed cost analysis for pituitary surgery episodes of care and demonstrate the importance of such analyses in helping to identify high-impact cost activities and drive value-based care.

Methods

This was a retrospective study of consecutively treated patients undergoing an endoscopic endonasal procedure for the resection of a pituitary adenoma after implementation and maturation of quality-improvement initiatives and the implementation of cost-containment initiatives.

Results

The cost data pertaining to 27 patients were reviewed. The 2 most expensive cost activities during the index hospitalization were the total operating room (OR) and total bed-assignment costs. Together, these activities represented more than 60% of the cost of hospitalization. Although value-improvement initiatives contributed to the reduction of variation in the total cost of hospitalization, specific cost activities remained relatively variable, namely the following: 1) OR charged supplies, 2) postoperative imaging, and 3) use of intraoperative neuromonitoring. These activities, however, each contributed to less than 10% of the cost of hospitalization. Bed assignment was the fourth most variable cost activity. Cost related to readmission/reoperation represented less than 5% of the total cost of the surgical episode of care.

Conclusions

After completing a detailed assessment of costs incurred throughout the management of patients undergoing pituitary surgery, high-yield opportunities for cost containment should be identified among the most expensive activities and/or those with the highest variation. Strategies for safely reducing the use of the targeted resources, and related costs incurred, should be developed by the multidisciplinary team providing care for this patient population.

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Nancy McLaughlin, Michael K. Ong, Victor Tabbush, Farhad Hagigi and Neil A. Martin

Economic evaluations provide a decision-making framework in which outcomes (benefits) and costs are assessed for various alternative options. Although the interest in complete and partial economic evaluations has increased over the past 2 decades, the quality of studies has been marginal due to methodological challenges or incomplete cost determination. This paper provides an overview of the main types of complete and partial economic evaluations, reviews key methodological elements to be considered for any economic evaluation, and reviews concepts of cost determination. The goal is to provide the clinician neurosurgeon with the knowledge and tools needed to appraise published economic evaluations and to direct high-quality health economic evaluations.

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Nancy McLaughlin, Alexander A. Khalessi and Neil A. Martin

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Nancy McLaughlin, Alexander A. Khalessi and Neil A. Martin

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Nancy McLaughlin, Michael A. Burke, Nisheeta P. Setlur, Douglas R. Niedzwiecki, Alan L. Kaplan, Christopher Saigal, Aman Mahajan, Neil A. Martin and Robert S. Kaplan

Object

To date, health care providers have devoted significant efforts to improve performance regarding patient safety and quality of care. To address the lagging involvement of health care providers in the cost component of the value equation, UCLA Health piloted the implementation of time-driven activity-based costing (TDABC). Here, the authors describe the implementation experiment, share lessons learned across the care continuum, and report how TDABC has actively engaged health care providers in costing activities and care redesign.

Methods

After the selection of pilots in neurosurgery and urology and the creation of the TDABC team, multidisciplinary process mapping sessions, capacity-cost calculations, and model integration were coordinated and offered to engage care providers at each phase.

Results

Reviewing the maps for the entire episode of care, varying types of personnel involved in the delivery of care were noted: 63 for the neurosurgery pilot and 61 for the urology pilot. The average cost capacities for care coordinators, nurses, residents, and faculty were $0.70 (range $0.63–$0.75), $1.55 (range $1.28–$2.04), $0.58 (range $0.56–$0.62), and $3.54 (range $2.29–$4.52), across both pilots. After calculating the costs for material, equipment, and space, the TDABC model enabled the linking of a specific step of the care cycle (who performed the step and its duration) and its associated costs. Both pilots identified important opportunities to redesign care delivery in a costconscious fashion.

Conclusions

The experimentation and implementation phases of the TDABC model have succeeded in engaging health care providers in process assessment and costing activities. The TDABC model proved to be a catalyzing agent for cost-conscious care redesign.

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Nancy McLaughlin, Deborah Winograd, Hallie R. Chung, Barbara Van de Wiele and Neil A. Martin

Since the development of the WHO Safe Surgery Saves Lives initiative and Surgical Safety Checklist, numerous hospitals across the globe have adopted the use of a surgical checklist. The UCLA Health System developed its first extended Surgical Safety Checklist in 2008. Authors of the present paper describe how the time-out checklist used before skin incision was implemented and how it progressed to its current form. Compliance with the most recent version of the checklist has been closely monitored via documentation and observance audits. In addition, the surgical team's appreciation of the current time-out has been assessed. Cultural, practice, and human resource challenges are discussed, as are potential future avenues for innovations in the emerging field of the surgical checklist in neurosurgery.

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Parham Moftakhar, Jason S. Hauptman, Dennis Malkasian and Neil A. Martin

Object

The scientific understanding of the nature of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in the brain is evolving. It is clear from current work that AVMs can undergo a variety of phenomena, including growth, remodeling, and/or regression—and the responsible processes are both molecular and physiological. A review of these complex processes is critical to directing future therapeutic approaches. The authors performed a comprehensive review of the literature to evaluate current information regarding the genetics, pathophysiology, and behavior of AVMs.

Methods

A comprehensive literature review was conducted using PubMed to reveal the molecular biology of AVMs as it relates to their complex growth and behavior patterns.

Results

Growth factors involved in AVMs include vascular endothelial growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, transforming growth factor β, angiopoietins, fibronectin, laminin, integrin, and matrix metalloproteinases.

Conclusions

Understanding the complicated molecular milieu of developing AVMs is essential for defining their natural history. Growth factors, extracellular matrix proteins, and other molecular markers will be the key to unlocking novel targeted drug treatments for these brain malformations.

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Vincent J. Miele, Julian E. Bailes and Neil A. Martin

✓Despite a plethora of guidelines for return to play following mild head injury, a discussion of when and if an athlete should be allowed to participate in contact or collision sports if he or she sustains a structural brain lesion or after a head injury requiring craniotomy is lacking. The structural lesions discussed include arachnoid cyst, Chiari malformation Type I, cavum septum pellucidum, and the presence of ventriculoperitoneal shunts. Issues unique to this population with respect to the possibility of increased risk of head injury are addressed. The population of athletes with epilepsy and certain genetic risk factors is also discussed. Finally, the ability of athletes to participate in contact or collision sports after undergoing craniotomies for traumatic or congenital abnormalities is evaluated. Several known instances of athletes returning to contact sports following craniotomy are also reviewed.

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Kristen Upchurch, Lei Feng, Gary R. Duckwiler, John G. Frazee, Neil A. Martin and Fernando Viñuela

✓ Nongalenic cerebral arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) are uncommon, high-flow vascular lesions first treated by Walter Dandy and his colleagues by using open surgery with ligation of the feeding artery. Due to advances in endovascular technology over the past four decades that make possible the control of high flow in AVFs, treatment has evolved from the sole option of surgery to include the alternative or adjunct option of endovascular embolization. The authors of this review discuss the history of nongalenic AVF treatment, including techniques of both surgery and interventional neuroradiology and the technological developments underlying them.