University of Utah Health Sciences: Study Finds Parents Choose Less Expensive Surgery
A new study reported that given the choice between an "open" operation or a pricier laparoscopy for their children's appendicitis, parents were almost twice as likely to choose the open procedure - when they were aware of the cost difference.
University of Utah Health Sciences noted that the study, published in the September issue of Annals of Surgery online, shows that providing pricing information upfront can influence patient choice of surgical procedures and potentially lead to cost savings in health care, says Eric R. Scaife, M.D., senior author, associate professor of surgery and chief of pediatric surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
In a release the university said that a post-surgery survey of patients and parents showed that those who received pricing information chose the open operation 1.8 times more often - 63 percent versus 35 percent - than those who were unaware of the cost differences.
Choosing the open operation saved significant costs for materials supplies related to surgery.
Total median charges, including operative materials, hospital stay, anesthesia and surgery, averaged $1,554 less for open operations than laparoscopy.
Among patients who were exposed to cost information, some of which chose laparoscopy, the average total median expenses were $528 less than the group not told about prices. Health insurance status appeared to play no role in the procedure choice.