NEWTOWN, Conn., July 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --A new analysis by the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3) finds that abdominal hysterectomies, and laparoscopic ones in particular, come at a significantly higher cost for women than vaginal procedures.
HCI3 researchers analyzed a large dataset of regional claims among commercially insured plan members covering April 2012 through December 2014. The claims were grouped to evaluate the main routes to performing a hysterectomy—vaginally or abdominally—and for each of these routes, the two modes—laparoscopic or regular—to compare the costs and complications of each route and each mode.
The findings show that the most common mode for the surgery, whether vaginal or abdominal, was laparoscopic, covering about 60 percent of all surgeries, and most common route was abdominal, covering about 80 percent of surgeries. However, abdominal surgeries are not recommended by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology as the first line surgery for hysterectomies, and are, on average more expensive and require longer recovery time. In addition, the study indicates that there is a greater rate of complications for all hysterectomies done laparoscopically rather than traditionally.
"There is a popular myth that laparoscopic surgery is always safer than regular surgery because it reduces the potential for wound infections and complications associated with longer lengths of stays," said François de Brantes, executive director of HCI3. "However, for this particular surgery, the opposite is true, with laparoscopic surgeries yielding significantly higher costs of complications than regular surgery. In addition, it appears as if physicians are not following the recommended care paths for hysterectomies, which could be harming women physically and financially."
The authors recommend that insurance companies and large employers take these findings and use their influence as health care payers to ensure that women get appropriate hysterectomy care.
About HCI3 Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute, Inc. (HCI3®) is a not-for-profit organization that aims to create significant improvements in the quality and affordability of health care through evidence-based incentive programs and support of payment reform models. Its nationally recognized programs, Bridges to Excellence® and PROMETHEUS Payment® have been at the forefront of payment reform, and the nsew PROMETHEUS Analytics® offers transformational insights for payers and providers.