JOURNAL ARTICLE

Influence of surgeon volume on clinical and economic outcomes of laparoscopic cholecystectomy

King-Teh Lee, Wen-Tseng Chang, Meng-Chuan Huang, Herng-Chia Chiu
Digestive Surgery 2004, 21 (5): 406-12
15564786

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The volume-outcome effect has been well documented in both medical treatment and surgery. The relationship of volume-outcome utilization in laparoscopic cholecystectomy has not been studied. The aims of this study were to examine whether the operational volume of individual surgeons is associated with the clinical and economic outcomes of patients with gallbladder diseases undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

METHODS: A retrospective study was made of all patients who underwent elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy in the Department of Surgery, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital between January 1998 and April 2002. In total, 916 patients were operated on by 4 surgeons and the volume for each surgeon was 502, 192, 147, and 75 cases, respectively. Clinical and economic information for each patient was abstracted from medical charts and the financial division. Multiple logistic and linear regression models were used to examine the relationship between three outcome variables, complications, length of stay, total hospital charges, and surgeon volume while controlling for the severity of illness and other selected covariates (morbidity index).

RESULTS: Overall, a complication rate of 1.2% was identified. On average, the patient's stay in hospital was 4.7 days, and the average total hospital charge was TWD 49,581. After adjusting for covariates, three regression models indicated that the surgeon with the highest volume had the lowest complication rate, shortest length of stay, and lowest hospital charges.

CONCLUSIONS: The operative volume of individual surgeons not only had a positive impact on clinical outcomes, it also had greater effect on conservation of health care resources. The findings validate the theory of practice makes perfect.

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