A study in Foot & Ankle Orthopaedics found outpatient and inpatient care were associated with similar reoperation and readmission rates for ankle fracture patients.
The researchers identified 148 patients who underwent surgical treatment for ankle fractures at a level 1 trauma hospital and affiliated outpatient surgery center, 61 of whom received treatment in the inpatient setting and 87 of whom received treatment in the outpatient setting. They investigated associations between inpatient/outpatient basis, cost, readmission, emergency department visits, reoperation and demographic characteristics.
Here's what you need to know:
1. Outpatient care was associated with 31.6 percent lower costs when compared with inpatient care. The researchers suggest that inpatient care is more expensive due to higher facility and labor costs.
2. There was no difference in readmission, emergency department visits or reoperation for patients treated on an inpatient or outpatient basis.
3. One prominent demographic disparity was cost for obese patients; across the board, obese patients had 21.6 percent higher costs when compared to patients who were not obese.
The researchers concluded that "where medically appropriate, this analysis suggests ankle fracture surgery should be provided in an outpatient surgical facility to provide the greatest value to the patient and society."