Surgical stabilization of rib fractures is associated with better return on investment for a health care institution than nonoperative management

Zachary M. Bauman, Hason Khan, Lindsey Cavlovic, Ashley Raposo-Hadley, Sydney J. Todd, Tylor King, Kevin Cahoy, Andrew Kamien, Samuel Cemaj, Olabisi Sheppard, Miguel Matos, Bennett Berning, Charity H. Evans, Emily Cantrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND Surgical stabilization of rib fractures (SSRFs) continues to gain popularity due to patient benefits. However, little has been produced regarding the economic benefits of SSRF and its impact on hospital metrics such as Vizient. The aim of this study was to explore these benefits hypothesizing SSRF will demonstrate positive return on investment (ROI) for a health care institution. METHODS This is a retrospective review of all rib fracture patients over 5 years at our Level I trauma center. Patients were grouped into SSRF versus nonoperative management. Basic demographics were obtained including case mix index (CMI). Outcomes included narcotic requirements in morphine milliequivalents prior to discharge, mortality, and discharge disposition. Furthermore, actual hospital length of stay (ALOS) versus Vizient expected length of stay were compared between cohorts. Contribution margin (CM) was also calculated. Independent t-test, paired t-test, and linear regression analysis were performed, and significance set at p < 0.05. RESULTS A total of 1,639 patients were included; 230 (14%) underwent SSRF. Age, gender, and Injury Severity Score were similar. Surgical stabilization of rib fracture patients had more ribs fractured (7 vs. 4; p < 0.001) and more patients with flail chest (43.5% vs. 6.7%; p < 0.001). Surgical stabilization of rib fracture patients also had a significantly higher CMI (4.33 vs. 2.78; p = 0.001). Narcotic requirements and mortality were less in the SSRF cohort; 155 versus 246 morphine milliequivalents (p < 0.001) and 1.7% versus 7.1% (p = 0.003), respectively. Surgical stabilization of rib fracture patients were more likely to be discharged home (70.4% vs. 63.7%; p = 0.006). Surgical stabilization of rib fracture patients demonstrated shorter ALOS where nonoperative management patients demonstrated longer ALOS compared with Vizient expected length of stay. Contribution margins for SSRF patients were significantly higher and linear regression analysis showed a CM $1,128.14 higher per patient undergoing SSRF (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION Patients undergoing SSRF demonstrate a significant ROI for a health care organization. Despite SSRF patients having a higher CMI, they were able to be discharged sooner than expected by Vizient calculations resulting in better a CM. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Therapeutic/Care Management; Level IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)885-892
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Volume95
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

Keywords

  • Surgical stabilization of rib fractures
  • case mix index
  • contribution margin
  • length of stay
  • return on investment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Surgery

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