BACKGROUND: In view of the expected increase in expenditure on hip replacement treatment in Belgium, the complication rate and potential waste reduction, as estimated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, we are not yet in a position to assess the efficiency of hip replacement treatment in Belgian hospitals. This objective study uses a cost-disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) ratio to propose a comparison of hip replacement surgery among 12 Belgian hospitals.
METHODS: Our study seeks to innovate by proposing an interhospital comparison that simultaneously integrates the weighting of quality indicators and the costs of managing a patient. To this end, we associated a DALY impact with each patient safety indicator, readmission and mortality outcome. We then compared hospitals using both costs and DALYs adjusted to their case mix index. The adjusted values (costs and DALYs) were obtained by relating the observed value to the predicted value obtained from the linear regression model.
RESULTS: We registered a total of 246.5 DALYs for the 12 hospital institutions, the average cost (SD) of a stay being €8013 (€4304). Our model allowed us to identify hospitals with observed values higher than those predicted. Out of the 12 hospitals evaluated, 4 need to reduce costs and DALYs impacts, 6 have to improve one of the two factors and 2 appear to have good results. The costs for the worst performing hospitals can rise to over €150 000.
CONCLUSION: Evaluating the rates of patient safety indicators, associated with cost, is a prerequisite for quality and cost improvement efforts on the part of managers and practitioners. However, it appears essential to evaluate the entire care chain using a comparable unit of measurement. The hospital's case mix index must also be considered in benchmarking to avoid drawing the wrong conclusions. In addition, other indicators, such as the patient's perception of the actual results, should be added to our study.