Optimizing the Volume-Value Relationship in Laminectomy: An Evidence-Based Analysis of Outcomes and Economies of Scale.
Frankel WC., Navarro SM., Haeberle HS., Ramanathan D., Ramkumar PN.
STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the present study was to establish evidence-based volume thresholds for surgeons and hospitals predictive of enhanced value in the setting of laminectomy. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Previous studies have attempted to characterize the relationship between volume and value; however, none to the authors' knowledge has employed an evidence-based approach to identify thresholds yielding enhanced value. METHODS: In total, 67,758 patients from the New York Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System database undergoing laminectomy in the period 2009 to 2015 were included. We used stratum-specific likelihood ratio analysis of receiver operating characteristic curves to establish volume thresholds predictive of increased length of stay (LOS) and cost for surgeons and hospitals. RESULTS: Analysis of LOS by surgeon volume produced strata at: <17 (low), 17 to 40 (medium), 41 to 71 (high), and >71 (very high). Analysis of cost by surgeon volume produced strata at: <17 (low), 17 to 33 (medium), 34 to 86 (high), and >86 (very high). Analysis of LOS by hospital volume produced strata at: <43 (very low), 43 to 96 (low), 97 to 147 (medium), 148 to 172 (high), and >172 (very high). Analysis of cost by hospital volume produced strata at: <43 (very low), 43 to 82 (low), 83 to 115 (medium), 116 to 169 (high), and >169 (very high). LOS and cost decreased significantly (P < 0.05) in progressively higher volume categories for both surgeons and hospitals. For LOS, medium-volume surgeons handle the largest proportion of laminectomies (36%), whereas very high-volume hospitals handle the largest proportion (48%). CONCLUSION: This study supports a direct volume-value relationship for surgeons and hospitals in the setting of laminectomy. These findings provide target-estimated thresholds for which hospitals and surgeons may receive meaningful return on investment in our increasingly value-based system. Further value-based optimization is possible in the finding that while the highest volume hospitals handle the largest proportion of laminectomies, the highest volume surgeons do not. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 3.