Costs and outcomes in evaluating management of unhealed surgical wounds in the community in clinical practice in the UK: a cohort study.

OBJECTIVE:
To evaluate the patient pathways and associated health outcomes, resource use and corresponding costs attributable to managing unhealed surgical wounds in clinical practice, from initial presentation in the community in the UK.

METHODS:
This was a retrospective cohort analysis of the records of 707 patients in The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database whose wound failed to heal within 4 weeks of their surgery. Patients’ characteristics, wound-related health outcomes and healthcare resource use were quantified, and the total National Health Service (NHS) cost of patient management was estimated at 2015/2016 prices.

RESULTS:
Inconsistent terminology was used in describing the wounds. 83% of all wounds healed within 12 months from onset of community management, ranging from 86% to 74% of wounds arising from planned and emergency procedures, respectively. Mean time to healing was 4 months per patient. Patients were predominantly managed in the community by nurses and only around a half of all patients who still had a wound at 3 months were recorded as having had a follow-up visit with their surgeon. Up to 68% of all wounds may have been clinically infected at the time of presentation, and 23% of patients subsequently developed a putative wound infection a mean 4 months after initial presentation. Mean NHS cost of wound care over 12 months was £7300 per wound, ranging from £6000 to £13 700 per healed and unhealed wound, respectively. Additionally, the mean NHS cost of managing a wound without any evidence of infection was ~£2000 and the conflated cost of managing a wound with a putative infection ranged from £5000 to £11 200.

CONCLUSION:
Surgeons are unlikely to be fully aware of the problems surrounding unhealed surgical wounds once patients are discharged into the community, due to inconsistent recording in patients’ records coupled with the low rate of follow-up appointments. These findings offer the best evidence available with which to inform policy and budgetary decisions pertaining to managing unhealed surgical wounds in the community.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: An opportunity to lead innovation in global surgery

Background
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made unparalleled contributions to global health and human development by bringing together generous funding, strategic partnerships, and innovative leadership. For the last twenty years, the Gates Foundation has supported the expansion of programs that directly address the fundamental barriers to the advancement of marginalized communities around the globe, with a transformative focus on innovations to combat communicable diseases and to ensure maternal and child health. Despite the wide spectrum of programs, the Gates Foundation has not, as of yet, explicitly supported the development of surgical care.

Methods
This article explores the pivotal role that the Gates Foundation could play in advancing the emerging global surgery agenda. First, we demonstrate the importance of the Gates Foundation’s contributions by reviewing its history, growth, and evolution as a pioneering supporter of global health and human development. Recognizing the Foundation’s use of metrics and data in strategic planning and action, we align the priorities of the Foundation with the growing recognition of surgical care as a critical component of efforts to ensure universal health care.

Results
To promote healthy lives and well-being for all, development of quality and affordable capacity for surgery, obstetrics and anesthesia is more important than ever. We present the unique opportunity for the Gates Foundation to bring its transformative vision and programing to the effort to ensure equitable, timely, and quality surgical care around the world.

Universal Access to Surgical Care and Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case for Surgical Systems Research

National level experiences, lessons learnt from the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) era coupled with the academic evidence and proposals generated by the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery (LCoGS) together with the economic arguments and recommendations from the World Bank Group’s “Essential Surgery” Disease Control Priorities (DCP3) publication, provided the impetus for political commitments to improve surgical care capacity at the primary level of the healthcare system in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) as part of their drive towards universal health coverage (UHC) in the form of World Health Organization (WHO) Resolution A68.15.

This global commitment from governments must be followed up with development of a Global Action Plan and a global coordination mechanism supported by regional implementation frameworks on the part of the WHO in order for the organisation to better coordinate all stakeholders and sustain the technical support needed to develop and implement national surgical health policy in the form of National Surgical Obstetric and Anaesthesia Plans (NSOAPs). As expounded by Gajewski et al, data and research output on surgical care is essential to informing policy development and programme implementation. This area still remains a challenge in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) but it is envisaged that countries will include this key component in their ongoing national surgical healthcare policy development and programme implementation. In the Zambian case study, research in the area of Global Surgery investment-the surgical workforce scale-up is used to demonstrate the important role of implementation research in the development and implementation of the Zambian NSOAP as well as the need for international collaborations to this end. Scale-up reviews informed by implementation research to evaluate progress on the commitments contained in Resolution A68.15 and Decision A70.22 are essential to sustain the momentum and to help maintain focus on the gaps in all countries. There are opportunities for non-state actors especially local sub-regional academic institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private sector to play a key role in surgical healthcare policy development and implementation research. Collection of and better information management of standardised surgical care indicators is essential for such research, for bi-annual WHO progress reporting and for demonstration of impact to justify and encourage further investments in surgical care.

Preliminary radiological result after establishment of hospital-based trauma registry in level-1 trauma hospital in developing country setting, prospective cohort study.

INTRODUCTION:
Injuries are the second most common cause of disability, the fifth most common cause of healthy years of life lost per 1000 people and unfortunately 90% of mortality takes place in low-to middle-income countries. Trauma registries guide policymakers and health care providers in decision making in terms of resource allocation as well as enhancing trauma care outcomes. Furthermore data from these registries inform policy makers to decrease the rate of death and disability occurring as a result of injuries. We present our experience in setting up an orthopedic trauma registry and the first short term follow-up of radiological outcomes.

MATERIALS AND METHODOLOGY:
Our study is a non-funded, non-commercial, prospective cohort study that was registered at Research Registry. The primary objectives of our study included assessing pattern of injuries in patients with upper and lower limb skeletal trauma presenting to our tertiary care academic university hospital and their respective outcomes. Data was collected by the musculoskeletal service line team members supervised by an experienced research associate and trauma consultants. The work has been reported in line with the STROCSS criteria.

RESULTS:
A total of 177 patients were included in this analysis, of whom 101 (57.1%) patients had lower limb fractures, 64(36.1%) patients ad upper limb fractures and 12 (6.8%) patients had both upper and lower limbs involved. A total of 189 upper and lower limb fracture cases were recorded. 176 patients (93.1%) underwent surgeries and 13(6.9%) were managed nonoperatively. Roentgenographic outcomes were assessed using radiological criteria for each bone fractured.

CONCLUSION:
Establishing a trauma registry assists in identification of the pattern of injuries presenting to the hospital which helps in priority setting, care management and planning. This continuous audit of outcomes in turn, plays a significant role in quality improvement.

The Coming Hip and Femur Fracture Bundle: A New Inpatient Risk Stratification Tool for Care Providers.

INTRODUCTION:
In response to increasing health-care costs, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has initiated several programs to transition from a fee-for-service model to a value-based care model. One such voluntary program is Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced (BPCI Advanced) which includes all hip and femur fractures that undergo operative fixation. The purpose of this study was to analyze the current cost and resource utilization of operatively fixed (nonarthroplasty) hip and femur fracture procedure bundle patients at a single level 1 trauma center within the framework of a risk stratification tool (Score for Trauma Triage in the Geriatric and Middle-Aged [STTGMA]) to identify areas of high utilization before our hospitals transition to bundle period.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:
A cohort of Medicare-eligible patients discharged with the Diagnosis-Related Group (DRG) codes 480 to 482 (hip and femur fractures requiring surgical fixation) from a level 1 trauma center between October 2014 and September 2016 was evaluated and assigned a trauma triage risk score (STTGMA score). Patients were stratified into groups based on these scores to create a minimal-, low-, moderate-, and high-risk cohort. Length of stay (LOS), discharge location, need for Intensive Care Unit (ICU)/Step Down Unit (SDU) care, inpatient complications, readmission within 90 days, and inpatient admission costs were recorded.

RESULTS:
One hundred seventy-three patients with a mean age of 81.5 (10.1) years met inclusion criteria. The mean LOS was 8.0 (4.2) days, with high-risk patients having 4 days greater LOS than lower risk patients. The mean number of total complications was 0.9 (0.8) with a significant difference between risk groups (P = .029). The mean total cost of admission for the entire cohort of patients was US$25,446 (US$9725), with a nearly US$9000 greater cost for high-risk patients compared to the low-risk patients. High-cost areas of care included room/board, procedure, and radiology.

DISCUSSION:
High-risk patients were more likely to have longer and more costly admissions with average index admission costs nearly US$9000 more than the lower risk patient cohorts. These high-risk patients were also more likely to develop inpatient complications and require higher levels of care.

CONCLUSION:
This analysis of a 2-year cohort of patients who would qualify for the BPCI Advanced hip and femur procedure bundle demonstrates that the STTGMA tool can be used to identify high-risk patients who fall outside the bundle.

Health and sustainable development; strengthening peri-operative care in low income countries to improve maternal and neonatal outcomes

Background
Uganda is far from meeting the sustainable development goals on maternal and neonatal mortality with a maternal mortality ratio of 383/100,000 live births, and 33% of the women gave birth by 18 years. The neonatal mortality ratio was 29/1000 live births and 96 stillbirths occur every day due to placental abruption, and/or eclampsia – preeclampsia and other unkown causes. These deaths could be reduced with access to timely safe surgery and safe anaesthesia if the Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care services (CEmONC), and appropriate intensive care post operatively were implemented. A 2013 multi-national survey by Epiu et al. showed that, the Safe Surgical Checklist was not available for use at main referral hospitals in East Africa. We, therefore, set out to further assess 64 government and private hospitals in Uganda for the availability and usage of the WHO Checklists, and investigate the post-operative care of paturients; to advocate for CEmONC implementation in similarly burdened low income countries.

Methods
The cross-sectional survey was conducted at 64 government and private hospitals in Uganda using preset questionnaires.

Results
We surveyed 41% of all hospitals in Uganda: 100% of the government regional referral hospitals, 16% of government district hospitals and 33% of all private hospitals. Only 22/64 (34.38%: 95% CI = 23.56–47.09) used the WHO Safe Surgical Checklist. Additionally, only 6% of the government hospitals and 14% not-for profit hospitals had access to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) services for postoperative care compared to 57% of the private hospitals.

Conclusions
There is urgent need to make WHO checklists available and operationalized. Strengthening peri-operative care in obstetrics would decrease maternal and neonatal morbidity and move closer to the goal of safe motherhood working towards Universal Health Care.

The global burden of sepsis: barriers and potential solutions.

Sepsis is a major contributor to the global burden of disease. The majority of sepsis cases and deaths are estimated to occur in low and middle-income countries. Barriers to reducing the global burden of sepsis include difficulty quantifying attributable morbidity and mortality, low awareness, poverty and health inequity, and under-resourced and low-resilience public health and acute health care delivery systems. Important differences in the populations at risk, infecting pathogens, and clinical capacity to manage sepsis in high and low-resource settings necessitate context-specific approaches to this significant problem. We review these challenges and propose strategies to overcome them. These strategies include strengthening health systems, accurately identifying and quantifying sepsis cases, conducting inclusive research, establishing data-driven and context-specific management guidelines, promoting creative clinical interventions, and advocacy.

Haves and have nots must find a better way: The case for open scientific hardware.

Many efforts are making science more open and accessible; they are mostly concentrated on issues that appear before and after experiments are performed: open access journals, open databases, and many other tools to increase reproducibility of science and access to information. However, these initiatives do not promote access to scientific equipment necessary for experiments. Mostly due to monetary constraints, equipment availability has always been uneven around the globe, affecting predominantly low-income countries and institutions. Here, a case is made for the use of free open source hardware in research and education, including countries and institutions where funds were never the biggest problem.

Mortality due to low-quality health systems in the universal health coverage era: a systematic analysis of amenable deaths in 137 countries.

Universal health coverage has been proposed as a strategy to improve health in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, this is contingent on the provision of good-quality health care. We estimate the excess mortality for conditions targeted in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that are amenable to health care and the portion of this excess mortality due to poor-quality care in 137 LMICs, in which excess mortality refers to deaths that could have been averted in settings with strong health systems.Using data from the 2016 Global Burden of Disease study, we calculated mortality amenable to personal health care for 61 SDG conditions by comparing case fatality between each LMIC with corresponding numbers from 23 high-income reference countries with strong health systems. We used data on health-care utilisation from population surveys to separately estimate the portion of amenable mortality attributable to non-utilisation of health care versus that attributable to receipt of poor-quality care.15·6 million excess deaths from 61 conditions occurred in LMICs in 2016. After excluding deaths that could be prevented through public health measures, 8·6 million excess deaths were amenable to health care of which 5·0 million were estimated to be due to receipt of poor-quality care and 3·6 million were due to non-utilisation of health care. Poor quality of health care was a major driver of excess mortality across conditions, from cardiovascular disease and injuries to neonatal and communicable disorders.Universal health coverage for SDG conditions could avert 8·6 million deaths per year but only if expansion of service coverage is accompanied by investments into high-quality health systems.Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

A systematic review about costing methodology in robotic surgery: evidence for low quality in most of the studies.

The main objective of this review was to evaluate the methodological design in studies reporting resource use and costs related to robotic surgery in gynecology.Systematic searches were performed in the databases PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and The Centre for Reviews and Dissemination database for relevant studies before May 2016. The quality of the methodological design was assessed with items regarding methodology from the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS). The systematic review was reported according to the PRISMA guidelines.Thirty-two relevant studies were included. None of the reviewed studied fully complied with the CHEERS methodological checklist. Background and objectives, Target population and subgroups and Setting and location were covered in sufficient details in all studies whereas the Study perspective, Justification of the time horizon, Discount rate, and Estimating resources and costs were covered in less than 50%. Most of the studies (29/32) used the health care sector perspective whereas the societal perspective was applied in three studies. The time horizon was stated in 18/32 of the studies.The methodological quality of studies evaluating costs of robotic surgery was low. The longest follow-up was 4 months and in general, the use of detailed cost data were lacking in most of the investigations. Key determinants, such as purchasing, maintenance costs of the robotic platform, and the use of surgical equipment, were rarely reported. If health care cost analyses lack transparency regarding cost drivers included it may not provide a true foundation for decision-making.