Impact of laparoscopic cholecystectomy on hospital utilization.

ANZ journal of surgery

PubMedID: 15043732

Hobbs MS, Mai Q, Fletcher DR, Ridout SC, Knuiman MW. Impact of laparoscopic cholecystectomy on hospital utilization. ANZ J Surg. 2004;74(4):222-8.
OBJECTIVE
The objective of the present study was to assess the impact of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) and associated endoscopic retrograde pancreatography (ERCP) on hospital utilization.

BACKGROUND
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) has resulted in marked reductions in average length of hospital stay; but population-based studies of hospital utilization have generally not taken into account increased cholecystectomy rates or associated increases in pre and postoperative admissions.

METHODS
We conducted a population-based study of all residents of Western Australia who underwent cholecystectomy in the period 1980-2000. Record linkage was used to identify pre and postoperative admissions, and to estimate aggregate length of stay per case based on all relevant admissions. We estimated trends in cholecystectomy rates, proportions of cases with related pre and postoperative hospital admissions, average aggregate length of stay per case and total bed utilization per unit of population.

RESULTS
The introduction of LC was associated with a sustained increase in rates of cholecystectomy of 25%. Similar increases occurred in the percentage of cases with related preoperative and postoperative admissions. Average length of stay for index admissions declined by nearly 60% compared with 50% for all related admissions. Per capita hospital utilization for index admissions decreased by 45% compared with 38% for index and associated admissions combined, and 32% for all admissions for biliary disease.

CONCLUSIONS
Reduced hospital utilization associated with LC was partly offset by increases in pre and postoperative admissions and a sustained increase in cholecystectomy rates. Record linkage is required to assess the true impact of new technologies on hospital utilization.