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Value-Driven Outcomes Tool Can Cut Health Care Costs

Highest variability in costs identified for post-op infection and sepsis, lowest for organ transplant

cost of healthcare

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 14, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A multifaceted value-driven outcomes tool that identifies variability in costs and outcomes can reduce health care costs, according to a study published in the Sept. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In an uncontrolled observational study, Vivian S. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues measured the association between a value-driven outcomes tool that allocates costs of care and quality measures to individual patient encounters and cost reduction and health outcome optimization. Data were reviewed for 1.7 million total patient visits, including 34,000 inpatient discharges.

The researchers found that professional costs accounted for 24.3 and 41.9 percent of total costs for inpatient episodes and outpatient visits, respectively. For Medicare severity diagnosis related groups with the highest total direct costs, cost variability was highest for postoperative infection and sepsis, and lowest for organ transplantation. For total joint replacement, a composite quality index was 54 and 80 percent at baseline and one year into the implementation, respectively (P < 0.001); mean direct costs were 7 percent lower in the implementation year and 11 percent lower in the post-implementation year compared with the baseline year.

"There may be benefit for individual physicians to understand actual care costs (not charges) and outcomes achieved for individual patients with defined clinical conditions," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to the medical technology industry.

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