September 28, 2015
1 min read

Price transparency program helped UCSF surgeons cut case costs

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NEW ORLEANS — More than 95% of nurses and residents polled agreed surgeons have the opportunity to control costs during a procedure, but data in a study presented here showed only slightly more than 50% of surgeons polled were aware of alternatives available to them to cut costs.

However, a program of providing surgeons with price transparency for their procedures is one way costs can be driven down, according to Corinna C. Zygourakis, MD, of San Francisco.

Zygourakis and colleagues gave surgeons a way to compare their costs with those of other surgeons through access to price transparency information.

Corinna C. Zygourakis

“The first 6 months of our intervention, we have seen an overall 4% decrease in median case costs for our target groups neurosurgery, orthopedics and ENT, from $1,392 to $1,335 per case. In the remainder of the surgical services at UCSF that have not been receiving this price transparency information, we have seen a nearly 9% increase in median case costs, from $740 to $766 over the same period of time,” Zygourakis said at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting.

Zygourakis and colleagues polled all attending, resident surgeons and OR nurses University California San Francisco (UCSF) regarding their attitudes towards cost and value of procedures. They then used EPIC data to analyze all surgical procedures performed at UCSF from 2012 to 2014.

The investigators created surgical “snapshots” they sent monthly surgeons, which enabled them to compare their surgical preparation time, operative time and surgical supply costs to those of their peers.

In the time since the price transparency information was provided to the target departments included in the study, they have saved $311,450 combined, according to Zygourakis.

According to the abstract, neurosurgery spine showed a 6.6% decrease in supply costs from December 2014 to January 2015.  by Robert Linnehan


Zygourakis CC, et al. Paper #117. Presented at: Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting; Sept. 26-30, 2015; New Orleans.

Disclosure: Zygourakis reports no relevant financial disclosures.