• Users Online: 440
  • Print this page
  • Email this page
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 26-31

The effect of initiation of an orthopedic trauma service on patient outcomes and clinical enterprise financial performance

Department of Orthopaedics and Physical Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. William R Barfield
Department of Orthopaedics and Physical Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, 96 Jonathan Lucas Street, Suite 708, Charleston, South Carolina 29425
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/DORJ.DORJ_10_20

Rights and Permissions

Background: As the demands of patients and the health-care reimbursement system continue to change rapidly, hospitals and surgeons are adopting new methods of delivering high-quality care at a lower cost. To this end, the use of a daily, dedicated orthopedic trauma room has been increasing in popularity. Our institution, a major Level I academic trauma center, however, has been a late adopter, only starting a dedicated orthopedic trauma room on November 1, 2013. The purpose of this retrospective data review was to assess the clinical (intensive care unit [ICU] length of stay [LOS] and hospital LOS) and financial outcomes of a dedicated trauma room. Design: This is a retrospective analysis of pre- and post-intervention measures of patient outcomes and financial performance using archival data from a trauma registry linked to cost, charge, and payment records. Methods: Our trauma registry was used to identify admission of patients requiring surgery for orthopedic injuries involving the lower extremity from the hip to the ankle for 11 months preceding the adoption of a daily trauma room (pre) and 11 months following its implementation (post). We compared pre- and post-hospital LOS and ICU LOS, while controlling for the effect of race, age, gender, Injury Severity Score (ISS), and type of insurance. There were 243 eligible patients identified for the “post” group and 258 in the “pre” group. Results: We found no statistically significant difference between the groups in mean age, ISS, or in distribution of patient sex or race. The estimated mean LOS (controlling for patient characteristics) was 8.35 days in the “pre” group and 7.79 days in the “post” group. This represented a statistically significant reduction (P < 0.0223) in overall LOS by more than a half-day per admission. Moreover, the mean estimated number of days in the ICU (for patients with any ICU use) decreased from 8.18 in the “pre” period to 5.94, a 2.24-day reduction (P < 0.0001) in the months following the adoption of the trauma room. This improvement in LOS and ICU use was not reflected in the observed difference between the pre- and post-time period in mean hospital charges (P = 0.5524), hospital cost (P = 0.5590), hospital payments (P = 0.8350), provider charges (P = 0.1985), or provider payments (P = 0.6388). However, the reductions in mean LOS and ICU used were estimated to free up 680.4 bed days, which would allow an additional 109.1 admissions per year, resulting in $1,299,498 estimated additional revenue to the hospital. Conclusions: These findings represent a significant improvement over the previous system and have implications for overall patient outcomes and also financial outcomes. Other studies have suggested that decreased total hospital and ICU stay have both been associated with overall better patient outcomes. Furthermore, the decreased LOS, especially in the ICU, frees scarce capacity in an institution experiencing a chronic shortage of available ICU beds. Our study illustrates the importance of capturing both resource use (such as bed days) and cost when evaluating the effect of process improvements in large hospitals. Costs and revenue measures alone may not capture the true economic benefits of process improvements in institutions where resources that are freed up by one service may be used by other service lines.

Print this article     Email this article
 Next article
 Previous article
 Table of Contents

 Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
 Citation Manager
 Access Statistics
 Reader Comments
 Email Alert *
 Add to My List *
 * Requires registration (Free)

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded287    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal