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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111

Abstract

ANGULO-PUEYO, Ester et al. Variability and opportunity costs among the surgical alternatives for breast cancer. Gac Sanit [online]. 2014, vol.28, n.3, pp.209-214. ISSN 0213-9111.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gaceta.2013.12.010.

Objective: To analyze medical practice variation in breast cancer surgery (either inpatient-based or day-case surgery), by comparing conservative surgery (CS) plus radiotherapy vs. non-conservative surgery (NCS). We also analyzed the opportunity costs associated with CS and NCS. Methods: We performed an observational study of age- and sex-standardized rates of CS and NCS, performed in 199 Spanish healthcare areas in 2008-2009. Costs were calculated by using two techniques: indirectly, by using All-Patients Diagnosis Related Groups (AP-DRG) based on hospital admissions, and directly by using full costing from the Spanish Network of Hospital Costs (SNHC) data. Results: Standardized surgery rates for CS and NCS were 6.84 and 4.35 per 10,000 women, with variation across areas ranging from 2.95 to 3.11 per 10,000 inhabitants. In 2009, 9% of CS was performed as day-case surgery, although a third of the health care areas did not perform this type of surgery. Taking the SNHC as a reference, the cost of CS was estimated at 7,078 € and that of NCS was 6,161 €. Using AP-DRG, costs amounted to 9,036 € and 8,526 €, respectively. However, CS had lower opportunity costs than NCS when day-case surgery was performed frequently-more than 46% of cases (following SNHC estimates) or 23% of cases (following AP-DRG estimates). Conclusions: Day-case CS for breast cancer was found to be the best option in terms of opportunity-costs beyond a specific threshold, when both CS and NCS are elective.

Keywords : Breast neoplasms; Segmental mastectomy; Mastectomy; Clinical practice variation; Small-area analysis; Cost allocation; Health care costs.

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