Outpatient vs. inpatient orthopedic procedures: Where are the cost-savings?

A literature review, published in Orthopedic Reviews, compared associated costs for outpatient orthopedic surgeries that are traditionally performed as inpatient procedures.

Researchers examined 3,412 potentially relevant studies from Medline, Pubmed and Embase. Of the 3,412 papers, researchers excluded 365 papers because they were duplicates, 383 were non-English, 2,606 did not include both outpatient and inpatient groups, 46 did not address orthopedic surgical procedures and six did not include comparative analyses.

Here are six insights:

1. There were seven cost-based studies, which estimated average cost savings ranging from 17.6 percent to 57.6 percent associated with outpatient orthopedic procedures as compared to similar procedures performed in hospitals.

2. The difference in cost between the outpatient and inpatient surgery groups was $3,225 on average.

3. In one study, the mean total cost was $19,021 at the outpatient center versus $23,087 at the inpatient hospital.

4. Another study found for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction procedures, average total cost was $3,905 at an outpatient center compared to $9,220 at the inpatient center.

5. Volar plating for closed distal radius fractures cost, on average, $5,220 at an ASC versus $7,640 at an inpatient hospital.

6. The review found patients who underwent outpatient surgery reported significantly less final cost than the inpatient group.

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