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J Trauma. 2011 Apr;70(4):985-90. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e318210f5b1.

Cost-driven injury prevention: creating an innovative plan to save lives with limited resources.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA. dickerr@sfghsurg.ucsf.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pedestrian injury costs >$20 billion annually. Countermeasures such as blinking crosswalks can be expensive but expectedly vital to injury prevention efforts. We aimed to create a new framework of cost-driven surveillance. The purpose of our study was to carry out a detailed analysis of the hospital cost and its relationship to location of pedestrian injury. Targeting identified "high cost areas" with effective countermeasures could save lives and be most cost-effective. Our hypothesis is that pedestrian injury creates a tremendous public funding burden and that hotspot sites can be mapped based on corresponding hospital costs.

METHODS:

We conducted a retrospective analysis of billing records of 694 auto versus pedestrian victims treated at Level I trauma center in our city in the sample year 2004. Total cost was computed using cost to charge ratios for hospital and ambulance fees and actual cost of professional fees. City district "price tags" were assigned per detailed patient cost data to corresponding spatial analysis of intersections. χ(2) analyses were conducted on demographic variables. Multiple regression analysis determined predictors of total cost.

RESULTS:

The total cost of injury was $9.8 million, whereas the total charge was $20.8 million. Ninety percent of victims resided in our City. Thirty-one percent were admitted and cost of their care accounted for 76% of the total. Admitted patients were older than nonadmitted patients (47 years vs. 38 years; t = 5.45; p = 0.00). Spatial analysis determined that of 11 city districts, three districts accounted for almost 50% of the total cost. Seventy-six percent of the total cost was publicly funded. The strongest predictors of cost were length of stay (â = 0.77; t(220) = 30.42; p = 0.000) and ventilator days (â = 0.51; t(220) = 6.69; p = 0.000).

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings provide a roadmap to target costly hot spots for city planning of preventive countermeasures. In a climate of limited resources, this kind of roadmap outlines the three regions that could most benefit from countermeasures from both an injury prevention and cost-containment standpoint. Cost-driven surveillance is useful in city strategic planning for cost-effective and life-saving pedestrian injury prevention.

PMID:
21610400
DOI:
10.1097/TA.0b013e318210f5b1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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