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Proceedings Paper

Effect of PACS/CR on cost of care and length of stay in a medical intensive care unit
Author(s): Curtis P. Langlotz; Harold L. Kundel; Inna Brikman; Hugh M. Pratt; Regina O. Redfern; Steven C. Horii; J. Sanford Schwartz
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Paper Abstract

Our purpose was to determine the economic effects associated with the introduction of PACS and computed radiology (CR) in a medical intensive care unit (MICU). Clinical and financial data were collected over a period of 6 months, both before and after the introduction of PACS/CR in our medical intensive care unit. Administrative claims data resulting from the MICU stay of each patient enrolled in our study were transferred online to our research database from the administrative databases of our hospital and its affiliated clinical practices. These data included all charge entries, sociodemographic data, admissions/discharge/transfer chronologies, ICD9 diagnostic and procedure codes, and diagnostic related groups. APACHE III scores and other case mix adjusters were computed from the diagnostic codes, and from the contemporaneous medical record. Departmental charge to cost ratios and the Medicare Resource-Based Relative Value Scale fee schedule were used to estimate costs from hospital and professional charges. Data were analyzed using both the patient and the exam as the unit of analysis. Univariate analyses by patient show that patients enrolled during the PACS periods were similar to those enrolled during the Film periods in age, sex, APACHE III score, and other measures of case mix. No significant differences in unadjusted median length of stay between the two Film and two PACS periods were detected. Likewise, no significant differences in unadjusted total hospital and professional costs were found between the Film and PACS periods. In our univariate analyses by exam, we focused on the subgroup of exams that had triggered primary clinical actions in any period. Those action-triggering exams were divided into two groups according to whether the referring clinician elected to obtain imaging results from the workstation or from the usual channels. Patients whose imaging results were obtain from the workstation had significantly lower professional costs in the 7 days following the action-triggering exam compared with patients whose exam information was obtained through the usual channels. No significant differences in patient age or APACHE score were noted between these two groups. Our preliminary results show possible evidence of a reduction in unadjusted cost of care for the subgroup of patients whose action-triggering exams were first encountered on the PACS workstation. Whether these results represent clinicians' differential workstation utilization patterns or true effects of PACS/CR will be determined by further data analysis, including case mix adjustment, subgroup analysis, and multivariate modeling.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 May 1996
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 2711, Medical Imaging 1996: PACS Design and Evaluation: Engineering and Clinical Issues, (1 May 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.239258
Show Author Affiliations
Curtis P. Langlotz, Univ. of Pennsylvania Medical Ctr. (United States)
Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (United States)
Harold L. Kundel, Univ. of Pennsylvania Medical Ctr. (United States)
Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (United States)
Inna Brikman, Univ. of Pennsylvania Medical Ctr. (United States)
Hugh M. Pratt, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (United States)
Regina O. Redfern, Univ. of Pennsylvania Medical Ctr. (United States)
Steven C. Horii, Univ. of Pennsylvania Medical Ctr. (United States)
J. Sanford Schwartz, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2711:
Medical Imaging 1996: PACS Design and Evaluation: Engineering and Clinical Issues
R. Gilbert Jost; Samuel J. Dwyer, Editor(s)

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