Preoperative evaluation is aimed at prevention of complications and risk stratification. Routine testing should be abandoned in favour of selective ordering according to contemporary guidelines. This study was conducted to calculate the possible economic impact of a Web-based preoperative diagnostic guideline prior to its implementation in the state of Salzburg, Austria.
Prospective observational cohort study.
The study was carried out in a secondary care hospital in Salzburg (Schwarzach).
Data from 1363 consecutive patients scheduled for elective surgery from 1 September to 30 November 2007 were collected: demographic data, medical history, surgical procedure, preoperative tests and findings. The data were entered into the preoperative diagnostic guideline software and the guideline-adherent recommendations were compared with the investigations performed, with special attention to duplicate examinations.
A total of 5879 tests were documented and analysed. In 65.6% of patients, guideline-adherent evaluation would have indicated only basic requirements, but 3380 additional tests were carried out. In all, 81.7% of tests were identified as nonadherent based on the preoperative diagnostic guideline software and 226 duplicate tests were performed. Possible savings per 1000 patients would be €26 287 if preoperative diagnostic guideline recommendations were followed exactly and €1076 if duplicated tests were avoided. According to a generalised linear model (Gamma model), an increase of 1 year of age leads to an increase of costs by a factor of 1.020.
These data indicate a considerable potential for improvement in process quality and cost reduction by using structured preoperative assessment with computer-assisted implementation of a guideline.
Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
Aged, 80 and over
Diagnostic Tests, Routine/economics*
Diagnostic Tests, Routine/standards
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