Cleft-Palate Repair: Does Hospital Case-Volume Impact Outcomes or Cost?

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Abstract

Background:

How hospital case-volume affects operative outcomes and cost continues to grow in importance. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of case volume with operative outcomes and cost in cleft palate repair.

Methods:

Subjects undergoing cleft palate repair between 2004 and 2015 were identified in the Pediatric Health Information System. Outcomes were compared between two groups: those undergoing treatment at a high-volume institution, and those undergoing treatment at a low-volume institution. Primary outcomes were as follows: any complication, prolonged length of stay, and increased total cost.

Results:

Over 20,000 patients (n = 20,320) from 49 institutions met inclusion criteria. On univariate analysis, those subjects who underwent treatment at a high-volume institution had a lower rate of overall complications (3.4 percent versus 5.1 percent; p < 0.001), and lower rates of prolonged length of stay (4.5 percent versus 5.8 percent; p < 0.001) and increased total cost (48.6 percent versus 50.9 percent; p = 0.002). In multivariate regression analyses, subjects treated in high-volume centers were less likely to experience any complication (OR, 0.678; p < 0.001) and were less likely to have an extended length of stay (OR, 0.82; p = 0.005). Subjects undergoing palate repair at a high-volume institution were no less likely to incur increased total cost (OR, 1.01; p = 0.805).

Conclusion:

In institutions performing a high volume of cleft palate repairs, subjects had significantly decreased odds of experiencing a complication or prolonged length of stay.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, III.

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