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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1990 Sep;(258):168-75.

Clinician-directed hospital cost management for total hip arthroplasty patients.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, California.


Can patients treated with total hip arthroplasty (THA) receive high-quality inpatient care at less cost? In 1984, a group of orthopedic surgeons and nurses examined the use of resources for THA patients and changed certain clinical practices to promote more cost-effective hospital care. At the end of the two-year project, orders for complete blood counts fell 72% and mean operating room time dropped 47 minutes for the participating orthopedists. For all orthopedists in the division, average length of stay (ALOS) decreased from 13 to 11 days. By the end of the following year, when clinicians received quarterly length-of-stay (LOS) data, ALOS dropped further to 9.8 days. This significant ALOS reduction was not accompanied by an increase in hospital readmissions or nursing home placements. The ALOS reduction was also not seen in elective coronary artery bypass graft patients whose ALOS did not substantially change over the same period. Two years after the project, ALOS for THA patients remained at ten days or below. This reduction in LOS and in the use of other hospital services translated into a mean total hospital charge decrease of $2045 per THA patient.

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