Background: The goal of this study was to examine the influence of time to appendectomy (TTA) and operative duration (OD) on hospital cost as surrogate measures of perioperative efficiency. Study Design: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of 2,116 children undergoing appendectomy for uncomplicated appendicitis at 16 children's hospitals from January 2013 to December 2014. Time to appendectomy (emergency department presentation to incision) and OD were obtained from the NSQIP Pediatric Appendectomy Pilot Database and merged with cost data from the Pediatric Health Information System Database. Multivariate regression was used to examine the influence of TTA and OD (categorized by quartiles of hospital-level means) on hospital cost, adjusting for patient and hospital-level characteristics. Results: Median TTA and OD across all patients was 7.3 hours (interquartile range 4.4 to 12.4 hours) and 36 minutes (interquartile range 26 to 49 minutes), respectively. The longest quartile of OD was associated with 38% higher total cost ($2,512/case; rate ratio [RR] 1.38; 95% CI 1.27 to 1.5; p < 0.001) and 27% higher operating room-associated cost ($960/case; RR 1.27; 95% CI 1.22 to 1.34; p < 0.001) compared with the shortest quartile. The longest quartile of TTA was associated with 23% higher total cost ($1,589/case; RR 1.23; 95% CI 1.14 to 1.32; p < 0.001) and 53% higher room-associated cost ($906/case; RR 1.53; 95% CI 1.35 to 1.74; p < 0.001) compared with the shortest quartile. The influence of TTA and OD were independent but potentiating effects, with median cost for hospitals in both the longest quartiles of TTA and OD being 79% higher than those in the shortest quartiles. Conclusions: Longer TTA and OD were independently associated with increased hospital cost, with OD being the most significant driver of cost variation across hospitals. Identification of best practices from high-efficiency hospitals might provide a high-yield strategy for improving value in appendicitis care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas