Does implant selection affect the inpatient cost of care for geriatric intertrochanteric femur fractures?
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INTRODUCTION: Geriatric intertrochanteric (IT) femur fractures are a common and costly injury, expected to increase in incidence as the population ages. Understanding cost drivers will be essential for risk adjustments, and the surgeon's choice of implant may be an opportunity to reduce the overall cost of care. This study was purposed to identify the relationship between implant type and inpatient cost of care for isolated geriatric IT fractures. METHODS: A retrospective review of IT fractures from 2013-2017 was performed at an academic level I trauma center. Construct type and AO/OTA fracture classifications were obtained radiographically, and patient variables were collected via the electronic medical record (EMR). The total cost of care was obtained via time-driven activity-based costing (TDABC). Multivariable linear regression and goodness-of-fit analyses were used to determine correlation between implant costs, inpatient cost of care, construct type, patient characteristics, and injury characteristics. RESULTS: Implant costs ranged from $765.17 to $5,045.62, averaging $2,699, and were highest among OTA 31-A3 fracture patterns (p < 0.01). Implant cost had a positive linear association with overall inpatient cost of care (p < 0.01), but remained highly variable (r(2) = 0.16). Total cost of care ranged from $9,129.18 to $64,210.70, averaging $19,822, and patients receiving a sliding hip screw (SHS) had the lowest mean total cost of care at $17,077, followed by short and long intramedullary nails ($19,314 and $21,372, respectively). When construct type and fracture pattern were compared to total cost, 31-A1 fracture pattern treated with SHS had significantly lower cost than 31-A2 and 31-A3 and less variation in cost. CONCLUSION: The cost of care for IT fractures is poorly understood and difficult to determine. With alternative payment models on the horizon, implant selection should be utilized as an opportunity to decrease costs and increase the value of care provided to patients. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Diagnostic Level IV.
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