Hospitals that perform high rates of invasive heart procedures are more costly for all patients, even those who do not receive invasive procedures, according to a Yale study published last week in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
Researchers found that heart failure patients treated with noninvasive procedures had a median cost of $5,259 per hospitalization at facilities with low procedure use, but their median cost rose to $6,965 at hospitals that perform a high volume of invasive procedures.
The study couldn't distinguish a single service area to explain the cost difference, as high-procedure hospitals had higher costs for most service areas.
"This study highlights that the high cost of high-procedure hospitals is not only the result of doing more invasive procedures," lead author Serene I. Chen said Thursday in a research announcement. "Instead, it may be that hospitals that have an intensive style of practice--those that do more procedures--also do more of everything else, such as imaging studies, medication administration, and laboratory testing, even for heart failure patients who are medically managed."
The study also found smaller, non-teaching institutions had low procedure use, while urban teaching hospitals performed a lot of invasive procedures.
But despite the increased costs, hospitals with higher volumes of procedures could see better patient safety. A study last fall in the journal Health Services Research found that the more procedures hospitals were performing, the lower the rates of adverse events they experienced.