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Rajiv K. Sethi, Caroline E. Drolet, Rebecca P. Pumpian, Jesse Shen, Kelsey Hanson, Sofia Guerra, and Philip K. Louie

OBJECTIVE

Measuring costs across entire episodes of care, time-driven activity-based costing (TDABC) has recently been described as a novel cost accounting arm of value-based care organizations. Lean methodology is a system used to understand pathways of care at a granular level, allowing for standardization. The current work presents an attempt at combining the 2 methodologies to detect meaningful variation in a patient’s care following single-level spine fusion. The objective of this study was to evaluate the combination of TDABC and lean methodologies in detecting meaningful variability in time-based care in patients undergoing single-level spine fusion surgery.

METHODS

This study is a consecutive case series of patients who underwent single-level spine fusion performed by 1 of 5 fellowship-trained spine surgeons. Patients were diagnosed with either lumbar stenosis or spondylolisthesis. Additional inclusion criteria included inpatient stays from 1 to 3 days, discharge to home, and no readmission within 30 days of surgery. Patient demographic data were obtained. Time spent on activities for each personnel role was aggregated in 15-minute increments occurring preoperatively, intraoperatively, and postoperatively. Patients were analyzed in 3 groups based on the duration of their in-hospital stay.

RESULTS

Patients discharged on postoperative day (POD) 3 had statistically significantly more total time spent than those discharged on POD 2. Patients discharged on POD 1 had less total time than those in the former 2 groups. The amount of time spent with patients did not differ for personnel in either preoperative or postanesthesia care unit phases of care. There was a statistically significant difference in time spent in surgery for surgeons, anesthesia attendings, circulators, and scrub technicians.

CONCLUSIONS

In a healthcare setting run by lean methodology, TDABC may detect meaningful variability in an episode of care for single-level spine fusion. Clinicians and administrators can use this combination to allocate costs appropriately, optimize value care streams, and help improve patient care.

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Chelsea J. Hendow, Alexander Beschloss, Alejandro Cazzulino, Joseph M. Lombardi, Philip K. Louie, Andrew H. Milby, Andrew J. Pugely, Ali K. Ozturk, Steven C. Ludwig, and Comron Saifi

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to investigate revision burden and associated demographic and economic data for atlantoaxial (AA) fusion procedures in the US.

METHODS

Patient data from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database for primary AA fusion were obtained from 1993 to 2015, and for revision AA fusion from 2006 to 2014 using ICD-9 procedure codes. Data from 2006 to 2014 were used in comparisons between primary and revision surgeries. National procedure rates, hospital costs/charges, length of stay (LOS), routine discharge, and mortality rates were investigated.

RESULTS

Between 1993 and 2014, 52,011 patients underwent primary AA fusion. Over this period, there was a 111% increase in annual number of primary surgeries performed. An estimated 1372 patients underwent revision AA fusion between 2006 and 2014, and over this time period there was a 6% decrease in the number of revisions performed annually. The 65–84 year-old age group increased as a proportion of primary AA fusions in the US from 35.9% of all AA fusions in 1997 to 44.2% in 2015, an increase of 23%. The mean hospital cost for primary AA surgery increased 32% between 2006 and 2015, while the mean cost for revision AA surgery increased by 35% between 2006 and 2014. Between 2006 and 2014, the mean hospital charge for primary AA surgery increased by 67%; the mean charge for revision surgery over that same period increased by 57%. Between 2006 and 2014, the mean age for primary AA fusions was 60 years, while the mean age for revision AA fusions was 52 years. The mean LOS for both procedures decreased over the study period, with primary AA fusion decreasing by 31% and revision AA fusion decreasing by 24%. Revision burden decreased by 21% between 2006 and 2014 (mean 4.9%, range 3.2%–6.4%). The inpatient mortality rate for primary AA surgery decreased from 5.3% in 1993 to 2.2% in 2014.

CONCLUSIONS

The number of primary AA fusions between 2006 and 2014 increased 22%, while the number of revision procedures has decreased 6% over the same period. The revision burden decreased by 21%. The inpatient mortality rate decreased 62% (1993–2014) to 2.2%. The increased primary fusion rate, decreased revision burden, and decreased inpatient mortality determined in this study may suggest an improvement in the safety and success of primary AA fusion.