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Impact of provider volume on operative mortality after radical cystectomy in a publicly funded healthcare system

Kulkarni GS, Urbach DR, Austin PC, Fleshner NE, Laupacis A. Can Urol Assoc J. 2013; 7(11-12):425-9.


Introduction — We assess the effect of cystectomy provider volume on postoperative mortality in a publicly funded healthcare system. Hospital and surgeon (provider) volume have been shown to be associated with clinically important outcomes for many types of surgery. Volume-outcome studies in patients undergoing radical cystectomy for bladder cancer have primarily originated from privately funded healthcare systems.

Methods — We identified patients undergoing cystectomy in Ontario, Canada, between 1992 and 2004 using administrative databases. The effect of provider volume on postoperative mortality was assessed with multilevel (hierarchical or random effects) logistic regression models, adjusted for patient characteristics. Separate models were fit to examine the effect of surgeon volume and the effect of hospital volume.

Results — Of the 3296 cystectomy patients identified, 126 (3.8%) experienced a postoperative death. Neither hospital volume (odds ratio [per 1 unit increase in volume] 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.95-1.00; p = 0.074) nor surgeon volume (odds ratio 0.96, 95% CI 0.90-1.02; p = 0.143) were statistically significantly associated with postoperative cystectomy mortality.

Conclusions — In Ontario’s publicly funded healthcare system, provider volume was not significantly associated with postoperative mortality.

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Keywords: Health care quality Health care evaluation Surgery

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