Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reminding surgical staff of phlebotomy costs appears to affect utilization

Date:
May 16, 2011
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Surgical house staff and attending physicians who are reminded about the charges for ordering daily blood drawing for routine blood work appear to reduce the amount of routine blood tests ordered and the charges for these laboratory tests, according to a new study.

Surgical house staff and attending physicians who are reminded about the charges for ordering daily blood drawing for routine blood work appear to reduce the amount of routine blood tests ordered and the charges for these laboratory tests, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Related Articles


"The use of laboratory tests has been rapidly increasing over the past few decades to the point where phlebotomy is a substantial proportion of hospital expenditure, and much of it is unwarranted," state the authors. As background, they note that some institutions have modified computer systems to limit the opportunity for clinicians to order redundant tests. They also point to other studies associating these practices with cost savings and no adverse effects on readmission rates, transfer to the intensive care unit, length of stay, diagnoses, or mortality.

Elizabeth A. Stuebing, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Miami , and Thomas J. Miner, M.D., from Brown University in Providence , R.I. , conducted a study at a Rhode Island Hospital . For nonintensive care unit patients among three general surgical services, the authors obtained daily phlebotomy data, as well as associated charges for these tests, and calculated the amount spent on blood draws and laboratory tests per patient and as a whole. The researchers then made a weekly announcement, for 11 weeks, to surgical house staff and attending physicians about total charges as well as charges per patient per day averaged over the previous week.

The baseline per-patient daily charges were calculated as $147.73, for an initial total of $36,875 charged per week for routine laboratory tests, including blood counts and chemistry panels. During the intervention, the lowest per-patient daily phlebotomy charge was $108.11, a decrease of 27 percent from baseline, and the lowest overall weekly charge was $25,311. At the end of the 11-week study period, the researchers calculated that $54,967 had been saved. The only two weeks in which charges increased to a great extent from the prior week were the same times in which interns rotated in and out of the unit.

The authors reported that the intervention was successful and the costs of implementing it were negligible. "We focused on simply providing the economic implications of wasteful ordering habits, specifically regarding phlebotomy," they write. "This study successfully showed that even without technical and time-consuming interventions, test ordering behavior can be greatly reduced by making health care providers aware of costs."

Commentary: Is That Laboratory Test Necessary?

In a related commentary, A. Benedict Cosimi, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, writes, "Stuebing and Miner are to be commended for attempting to reduce the volume of unnecessary phlebotomy orders on their surgical units by increasing the cost consciousness of the caregivers." Cosimi commends Stuebing and Miner for offering "convincing evidence that cost consciousness can provide a potent weapon for reducing some of the wasteful medical spending that contributes to our overall health care bill, which currently is twice as much per person as that of most industrialized countries."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. E. A. Stuebing, T. J. Miner. Surgical Vampires and Rising Health Care Expenditure: Reducing the Cost of Daily Phlebotomy. Archives of Surgery, 2011; 146 (5): 524 DOI: 10.1001/archsurg.2011.103
  2. A. B. Cosimi. Modern Day Bloodletting: Is That Laboratory Test Necessary?: Comment on "Surgical Vampires and Rising Health Care Expenditure". Archives of Surgery, 2011; 146 (5): 527 DOI: 10.1001/archsurg.2011.104

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Reminding surgical staff of phlebotomy costs appears to affect utilization." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516161835.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2011, May 16). Reminding surgical staff of phlebotomy costs appears to affect utilization. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516161835.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Reminding surgical staff of phlebotomy costs appears to affect utilization." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516161835.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins