Correlation of perioperative risk scores with hospital costs in neurosurgical patients

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OBJECTIVE

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) online surgical risk calculator uses inherent patient characteristics to provide predictive risk scores for adverse postoperative events. The purpose of this study was to determine if predicted perioperative risk scores correlate with actual hospital costs.

METHODS

A single-center retrospective review of 1005 neurosurgical patients treated between September 1, 2011, and December 31, 2014, was performed. Individual patient characteristics were entered into the NSQIP calculator. Predicted risk scores were compared with actual in-hospital costs obtained from a billing database. Correlational statistics were used to determine if patients with higher risk scores were associated with increased in-hospital costs.

RESULTS

The Pearson correlation coefficient (R) was used to assess the correlation between 11 types of predicted complication risk scores and 5 types of encounter costs from 1005 health encounters involving neurosurgical procedures. Risk scores in categories such as any complication, serious complication, pneumonia, cardiac complication, surgical site infection, urinary tract infection, venous thromboembolism, renal failure, return to operating room, death, and discharge to nursing home or rehabilitation facility were obtained. Patients with higher predicted risk scores in all measures except surgical site infection were found to have a statistically significant association with increased actual in-hospital costs (p < 0.0005).

CONCLUSIONS

Previous work has demonstrated that the ACS NSQIP surgical risk calculator can accurately predict mortality after neurosurgery but is poorly predictive of other potential adverse events and clinical outcomes. However, this study demonstrates that predicted high-risk patients identified by the ACS NSQIP surgical risk calculator have a statistically significant moderate correlation to increased actual in-hospital costs. The NSQIP calculator may not accurately predict the occurrence of surgical complications (as demonstrated previously), but future iterations of the ACS universal risk calculator may be effective in predicting actual in-hospital costs, which could be advantageous in the current value-based healthcare environment.

ABBREVIATIONS ACS NSQIP = American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program; LOS = length of hospital stay; OR = operating room; SSI = surgical site infection; UTI = urinary tract infection; VTE = venous thromboembolism.
Article Information

Contributor Notes

Correspondence Sasha Vaziri: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. sasha.vaziri@neurosurgery.ufl.edu.INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online February 15, 2019; DOI: 10.3171/2018.10.JNS182041.

S.V. and J.M.A. contributed equally to this work.

Disclosures Dr. Hoh receives a stipend of $7500 per year for serving on the editorial board of The Spine Journal.
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