Background Tonsillectomy is among the most common and cumulatively expensive surgical procedures in children, with known variations in quality of care. However, evidence on health system interventions to improve quality of care is limited. The Quality-Based Procedures (QBP) programme in Ontario, Canada, introduced fixed episode hospital payment per tonsillectomy and disseminated a perioperative care pathway. We determined the association of this payment and quality improvement programme with tonsillectomy quality of care.
Methods Interrupted time series analysis of children undergoing elective tonsillectomy at community and children’s hospitals in Ontario in the QBP period (1 April 2014 to 31 December 2018) and the pre-QBP period (1 January 2009 to 31 January 2014) using health administrative data. We compared the age-standardised and sex-standardised rates for all-cause tonsillectomy-related revisits within 30 days, opioid prescription fills within 30 days and index tonsillectomy inpatient admission.
Results 111 411 children underwent tonsillectomy: 51 967 in the QBP period and 59 444 in the pre-QBP period (annual median number of hospitals, 86 (range 77–93)). Following QBP programme implementation, revisit rates decreased for all-cause tonsillectomy-related revisits (0.48 to −0.18 revisits per 1000 tonsillectomies per month; difference −0.66 revisits per 1000 tonsillectomies per month (95% CI −0.97 to −0.34); p<0.0001). Codeine prescription fill rate continued to decrease but at a slower rate (−4.81 to −0.11 prescriptions per 1000 tonsillectomies per month; difference 4.69 (95% CI 3.60 to 5.79) prescriptions per 1000 tonsillectomies per month; p<0.0001). The index tonsillectomy inpatient admission rate decreased (1.12 to 0.23 admissions per 1000 tonsillectomies per month; difference −0.89 (95% CI −1.33 to −0.44) admissions per 1000 tonsillectomies per month; p<0.0001).
Conclusions The payment and quality improvement programme was associated with several improvements in quality of care. These findings may inform jurisdictions planning health system interventions to improve quality of care for tonsillectomy and other paediatric procedures.
- hospital medicine
- healthcare quality improvement
Data availability statement
No data are available.
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Contributors SM conceptualised and designed the study, interpreted the data and drafted and revised the manuscript. JG designed the study, extracted the data, carried out the analyses and interpretation of data and revised the manuscript. SG, JZ and EJP designed the study, interpreted the data and revised the manuscript. AG conceptualised and designed the study, interpreted the data, drafted the initial manuscript and revised the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.
Funding This study was supported by ICES, which is funded by an annual grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health.
Disclaimer Parts of this material are based on data and information compiled and provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). The analyses, conclusions, opinions and statements expressed herein are solely those of the authors and do not reflect those of the funding or data sources; no endorsement is intended or should be inferred.
Competing interests SM and EJP reported being a member of the Ontario Quality-Based Procedures tonsillectomy expert clinical panel and did not receive any payment for this work.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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