A new study in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research determined that the average lifetime societal benefits in the United States reduced the direct medical costs of hip fracture surgery by $65,000 to $68,0000 per patient. In addition, the study found that the total lifetime societal savings exceeded $16 billion for older patients. The savings resulted from a reduction in the length and intensity of care after the injury in addition to the reduction in the amount of longer-term medical care and assistance needed by patients who undergo hip fracture surgery as compared to those treated other ways.

For the study, researchers estimated the impact of surgical and nonsurgical treatment in patients ages 65 years and older based on a set of outcomes, including long-term medical costs, home modification costs, and costs associated with long-term nursing home care, according to a news release from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Based on a literature review, an analysis of Medicare claims data, and the input of a panel of clinical experts, a Markov model was created by researchers to measure the cost and potential savings of hip fracture surgery.

According to the AAOS news release, the specific findings of the study include: the lifetime cost of a hip fracture is estimated at $81,300, of which approximately 44% of the costs were associated with nursing facility expenses; the lifetime total per-patient societal savings from surgical treatment of hip fractures was estimated at $160,000; and for the population over age 65 as a whole, the annual total societal savings is estimated at $16 billion.

John Tongue, MD, co-author of the study, states, “Not only is surgery extremely successful in returning hip fracture patients to active, independent living, but the procedure also provides a significant societal benefit and value.” Tongue adds, “These are important findings as the nation ages, and as policy makers and payers increasingly focus on the rising costs of health care.”

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons