Surgical Vampires and Rising Health Care Expenditure: Reducing the Cost of Daily Phlebotomy | Surgery | JAMA Surgery | JAMA Network
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May 2011May 16, 2011

Surgical Vampires and Rising Health Care Expenditure: Reducing the Cost of Daily Phlebotomy

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida (Dr Stuebing); and Department of Surgery, Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (Dr Miner).

Arch Surg. 2011;146(5):524-527. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2011.103

Objective  To determine whether simply being made continually aware of the hospital costs of daily phlebotomy would reduce the amount of phlebotomy ordered for nonintensive care unit surgical patients.

Design  Prospective observational study.

Setting  Tertiary care hospital in an urban setting.

Participants  All nonintensive care unit patients on 3 general surgical services.

Intervention  A weekly announcement to surgical house staff and attending physicians of the dollar amount charged to nonintensive care unit patients for laboratory services during the previous week.

Main Outcome Measure  Dollars charged per patient per day for routine blood work.

Results  At baseline, the charges for daily phlebotomy were $147.73/patient/d. After 11 weeks of residents being made aware of the daily charges for phlebotomy, the charges dropped as low as $108.11/patient/d. This had a correlation coefficient of −0.76 and significance of P = .002. Over 11 weeks of intervention, the dollar amount saved was $54 967.

Conclusion  Health care providers being made aware of the cost of phlebotomy can decrease the amount of these tests ordered and result in significant savings for the hospital.