More spending doesn't mean better trauma outcomes

The cost for caring for trauma patients varies widely across regions of the United States, but outcomes differed little, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University MedPage Today reported.

According to the study by Johns Hopkins researchers, the cost for treating trauma patients in the western U.S. is one-third higher than treating the patients with the same ailments at hospitals in the Northeast, where it costs an average of $14,022. The study used data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's nationwide inpatient sample and focused on traumatic injury.

"Spending more doesn't always mean saving more lives," lead researcher Adil H. Haider said in a statement. "If doctors in the Northeast do things more economically and with good results, why can't doctors out West do the same thing?"

Costs for delivering care were also 22 percent higher in the Midwest and 18 percent higher in the South, according to HealthLeaders Media.

The study comes at a time when the healthcare system continues to confront rising costs in delivery, prompting some states such as Massachusetts to pass landmark cost-containment legislation earlier this month, The Boston Globe reported.

However, the Johns Hopkins researchers cautioned that in looking for ways to cut costs, treatment methods should be scrutinized closely. They noted, for example, that some pricier methods in the West may be less painful for the patients and leave them with fewer long-term disabilities.

For more information:
- read the Johns Hopkins University announcement
- read the Medpage Today article
- here's the HealthLeaders article
- read the Boston Globe article