Technical efficiency evaluation of colorectal cancer care for older patients in Dutch hospitals

Thea C. Heil*, René J. F. Melis, Huub A. A. M. Maas, Barbara C. van Munster, Marcel G. M. Olde Rikkert, Johannes H. W. de Wilt, Eddy M. M. Adang

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background Preoperative colorectal cancer care pathways for older patients show considerable practice variation between Dutch hospitals due to differences in interpretation and implementation of guideline-based recommendations. This study aims to report this practice variation in preoperative care between Dutch hospitals in terms of technical efficiency and identifying associated factors. Methods Data on preoperative involvement of geriatricians, physical therapists and dieticians and the clinicians’ judgement on prehabilitation implementation were collected using quality indicators and questionnaires among colorectal cancer surgeons and specialized nurses. These data were combined with registry-based data on postoperative outcomes obtained from the Dutch Surgical Colorectal Audit for patients aged ≥75 years. A two-stage data envelopment analysis (DEA) approach was used to calculate bias-corrected DEA technical efficiency scores, reflecting the extent to which a hospital invests in multidisciplinary preoperative care (input) in relation to postoperative outcomes (output). In the second stage, hospital care characteristics were used in a bootstrap truncated regression to explain variations in measured efficiency scores. Results Data of 25 Dutch hospitals were analyzed. There was relevant practice variation in bias-corrected technical efficiency scores (ranging from 0.416 to 0.968) regarding preoperative colorectal cancer surgery. The average efficiency score of hospitals was significantly different from the efficient frontier (p = <0.001). After case-mix correction, higher technical efficiency was associated with larger practice size (p = <0.001), surgery performed in a general hospital versus a university hospital (p = <0.001) and implementation of prehabilitation (p = <0.001). Conclusion This study showed considerable variation in technical efficiency of preoperative colorectal cancer care for older patients as provided by Dutch hospitals. In addition to higher technical efficiency in high-volume hospitals and general hospitals, offering a care pathway that includes prehabilitation was positively related to technical efficiency of hospitals offering colorectal cancer care.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0260870
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12 December
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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