Evaluation of Intraoperative Testing During Cochlear Implantation From a Time and Cost Perspective: A Single-Center Experience in the United States

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Abstract

Objective:

To measure the time spent performing intraoperative testing during cochlear implantation (CI) and determine the impact on hospital charges.

Study Design:

Prospective study.

Setting:

Tertiary referral hospital.

Patients:

Twenty-two children (7 mo–18 yr) who underwent a total of 22 consecutive primary and/or revision CIs by a single surgeon from December 2016 to July 2017.

Intervention:

The time spent performing intraoperative testing, including evoked compound action potentials (ECAP) and electrical impedances (EI), was recorded for each case. The audiologist performing the testing was unaware of the time measurement and subsequent evaluations with regard to cost data. Billing information was used to determine if the testing contributed to increased operative charges to the patient.

Outcome Measures:

Whether intraoperative testing had an impact on operative charges to the patient.

Results:

The average time spent in testing (ECAPs/EIs in all cases) was 6.7 minutes (range, 2–26 min). No correlation was found between testing time and preoperative computed tomography findings, the audiologist performing testing, or the electrode type used (p > 0.05). Based on billing data, including time spent in the operating room (OR), 5/22 (23%) cases incurred greater charges than if intraoperative testing had not been performed.

Conclusion:

Our data suggest that intraoperative testing increases time in the OR and can contribute to increased hospital charges for CI patients. By using testing selectively, costs incurred by patients and hospitals may be reduced. This is of interest in a healthcare environment that is increasingly focused on cost, quality, and outcomes.

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