Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Am Coll Surg. 2013 Apr;216(4):800-11; discussion 811-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2012.12.030. Epub 2013 Jan 26.

Clinical impact of a value-based decision: a surgical case study.

Author information

  • 1Department of Surgery, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC 20016, USA.



Value is an economic utility defined by quality and cost, with the maximum benefit achieved by improving quality and reducing cost simultaneously. Health care systems are using value-based analysis to identify the best practices (BPs) that accomplish this goal.


We chose a clinical condition, deep venous thrombophlebitis (DVT) to test this hypothesis by identifying the BPs available in the literature; determining the usual practice for DVT prophylaxis at each of 8 hospitals (ie, community, tertiary, and a university hospital) in an integrated system; measuring clinical outcomes (mortality and morbidity) for each hospital; determining cost for each treatment algorithm in each hospital; and measuring the savings opportunity if a single BP was used by all of the hospitals.


The literature suggests that the BPs for DVT prophylaxis consist of sequential compression devices for short-stay procedures; unfractionated heparin for inpatient procedures, and low molecular weight heparin for thrombotic events. Four of the hospitals were using these BPs; the others relied on sequential compression devices and low molecular weight heparin for prophylaxis. Outcomes were identical and value-based analysis suggested a savings opportunity of nearly $4 million if a single BP was adopted.


There were substantial variations in the type of DVT prophylaxis used by the hospitals with no difference in outcomes. A single BP increased value and resulted in savings of $1.5 million, with a savings opportunity of nearly $4 million.

Copyright © 2013 American College of Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk