We assessed surgeon and hospital level variation in robot-assisted radical prostatectomy costs and predictors of high and low cost surgery.Materials and Methods:
The study population consisted of a weighted sample of 291,015 men who underwent robot-assisted radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer by 667 surgeons at 197 U.S. hospitals from 2003 to 2013. We evaluated 90-day direct hospital costs (2014 USD) in the Premier Hospital Database. High costs per robot-assisted radical prostatectomy were those above the 90th percentile and low costs were those below the 10th percentile.Results:
Mean hospital cost per robot-assisted radical prostatectomy was $11,878 (95% CI $11,804–$11,952). Mean cost was $2,837 (95% CI $2,805–$2,869) in the low cost group vs $25,906 (95% CI $24,702–$25,490) in the high cost group. Nearly a third of the variation in robot-assisted radical prostatectomy cost was attributable to hospital characteristics and more than a fifth was attributable to surgeon characteristics (R-squared 30.43% and 21.25%, respectively). High volume surgeons and hospitals (90th percentile or greater) had decreased odds of high cost surgery (surgeons: OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.11–0.54; hospitals: OR 0.105, 95% CI 0.02–0.46). The performance of robot-assisted radical prostatectomy at a high volume hospital was associated with increased odds of low cost robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (OR 839, 95% CI 122–greater than 999).Conclusions:
This study provides insight into the role of surgeons and hospitals in robot-assisted radical prostatectomy costs. Given the substantial variability, identifying and remedying the root cause of outlier costs may yield substantial benefits.