Effect of Hospital Characteristics on the Quality of Laparoscopic Gastrectomy in Japan

Kazuaki Kuwabara, Shinya Matsuda, Kiyohide Fushimi, Koichi B Ishikawa, Hiromasa Horiguchi, Kenji Fujimori


Background: Laparoscopic gastrectomy (LG) is becoming more widely indicated, although its application has not been investigated sufficiently in community-based gastrointestinal research because the small number of gastric cancers in western countries might have limited its use. However, concerns have been raised regarding variations in the quality of care with LG. To contribute to improving the efficient utilization of costly surgical innovations, we determined the impact of hospital characteristics on LG care.

Methods: Among 3,914 LG patients in 58 academic and 200 community hospitals between 2006 and 2008, we examined patient demographics, comorbidity, complications, partial or total gastrectomy, care process, hospital patient volume, hospital ownership and teaching status, and fiscal year. Hospital LG volume was divided into three quintile categories (lower volume, LV; intermediate volume, IV; or higher volume, HV) that consisted of an approximately equal number of patients. Dependent variables were operating time (OT), length of stay (LOS) and total charge (TC). The impact of hospital characteristics on these variables was assessed using multivariate analysis.

Results: Twenty-seven academic hospitals out of 193 LV hospitals treated 271 (21%) LG patients, 20 of 44 IV hospitals treated 596 (47%), and 11 of 21 HV hospitals treated 748 (55%). Although mortality or complications did not vary significantly between LV, IV and HV hospitals, the latter were associated with longer OT or LOS and more TC. More blood transfusions were required in HV hospitals once indicated. Hospital ownership or teaching status did not explain the variation in complications. Teaching and national hospitals consumed more resources, and municipal and private hospitals reduced OT more than national hospitals.

Conclusions: A volume-quality relationship was recognized. As intraoperative transfusion prolongs OT and results in more complications, clinical societies or policy makers should introduce this new technique concurrently with quality improvement initiatives that aim to reduce unnecessary OT at targeted institutions. Hospitals varied in terms of LOS and TC, therefore, policy makers should also monitor resource utilization to enhance the efficiency of LG care under restrictive fiscal policies.

Gastroenterol Res. 2010;3(2):65-73
doi: https://doi.org/10.4021/gr2010.04.189w


Hospital volume; Laparoscopic gastrectomy; Length of stay; Operating time; Quality of care

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