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Scientific Oral Presentations: Key Strategies Reduce Costs

An alternative technique for delivering local anesthetic during trans-nasal flexible laryngoscopy saves money without compromising patient comfort. Innovative strategies reduce hospital readmissions dramatically and result in cost savings. These are the findings of two presentations among 11 significant medical economics research projects scheduled for the Scientific Oral Presentations: Business of Medicine from 10:30 am to 11:50 am today in West Level III, Room 306.

“What our study shows is that with an alternative technique for administering our local anesthetic, we can maintain excellent levels of patient tolerance of laryngoscopy while saving a compelling amount of money,” said VyVy N. Young, MD, associate residency program director and assistant professor, Department of Otolaryngology, the University of Pittsburgh. “Furthermore, this technique could be easily implemented in any otolaryngology practice.”

In her presentation “Comparison of Tolerance and Cost-Effectiveness of Two Nasal Anesthesia Techniques for Trans-Nasal Flexible Laryngoscopy,” Dr. Young will share details of a study that evaluated two different methods of administering a combination of local anesthetic and decongestant medications during laryngoscopy. In the study, investigators examined patient comfort with laryngoscopy and the cost-effectiveness of each technique.

The study’s conclusions are “especially timely as we healthcare providers are increasingly pressured to find avenues to decrease costs,” she said. “Our study results demonstrate a simple and straightforward way to save a reasonable amount of money without sacrifice to patient care or comfort.”

Her presentation is pertinent for any otolaryngologist who performs flexible laryngoscopy or nasopharyngoscopy and for virtually any subspecialty area such as general otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, pediatrics, and rhinology.

“This presentation has far-reaching potential impact,” Dr. Young said. “It’s an interesting study that could be significantly helpful to many otolaryngologists. I hope those attending this Scientific Oral Presentation will be inspired to implement this in their own practices.”

Karthik Rajasekaran, MD, resident otolaryngologist, Head and Neck Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, will address findings on “Reducing Readmission Rates at a Large Academic Otolaryngology Practice” that spanned the past three years. He will highlight key areas conducive to improvement in healthcare quality and cost containment, and present innovative strategies that dramatically reduce readmission rates.

Investigators initiated this study in response to the public reporting of hospital quality of care measures developed by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which has made adjustments to hospital payments to account for excess readmissions. Currently, readmission rates are reported for three conditions (acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia), but in the ensuing years, more medical conditions will be reported.

“There is a paucity of data on readmissions in otolaryngology practice and little literature on quality improvement efforts that would benefit our type of practice,” Dr. Rajasekaran said. “In the current healthcare climate, we believe that it is important to be pioneers in this area and not only describe our quality improvement efforts, but also evaluate its efficacy.”

The study’s principal investigator, Raj Sindwani, MD, section head of Rhinology, Sinus and Skull Base Surgery, also of the Cleveland Clinic’s Head & Neck Institute, weighed in on the significance of this research as well. “Our intention is to share some of the best practices we have developed in this space here at the Cleveland Clinic,” he said. “The topic we are presenting is a critical one in today’s healthcare climate.”