In 2020, the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) introduced the Preoperative Testing Value Coalition Campaign (VCC) with the aim of reducing the use of unnecessary preoperative testing for surgical procedures. As part of this new campaign to improve quality, reduce cost, and improve the equity of care delivery in Michigan, the Coordinating Center developed and distributed preoperative testing reports to collaborative members earlier this week. The goal of these reports is to introduce the VCC and provide benchmarking data for some of the common preoperative tests to members.
Currently, the VCC is focused on three elective, outpatient, low-risk surgeries. This includes cholecystectomy, lumpectomy, and inguinal hernia repair. These surgeries were chosen to identify a population unlikely to require much, if any preoperative testing. Metrics included in the reports evaluate hospital testing rates for electrocardiography (EKG), trans-thoracic echocardiography (TTE), cardiac stress tests, chest X-ray (CXR), urinalysis, complete blood count (CBC), basic metabolic panel, coagulation tests, and pulmonary function tests (PFT). As shown in Figure 1, there is wide variation across the collaborative for overall preoperative testing rates, ranging from 20% to 96%.
Whilst the report provides the MVC all and regional averages as benchmarks, the variation suggests that there is significant room for improvement among Michigan hospitals, and even facilities that are average likely have the possibility to reduce preoperative testing. Furthermore, to allow hospitals to identify areas of opportunity, a more granular grouping of laboratory testing including CBC, basic metabolic panel, coagulation tests, and urinalysis for the three low-risk surgeries is depicted in Figure 2. To allow hospitals and physician organizations to view more comprehensive preoperative testing data, the MVC Coordinating Center is in the preliminary stages of developing a new preoperative testing report for the MVC registry.
Although many preoperative tests are relatively low cost, large-scale overuse when not necessary can increase episode costs. For these three low-risk procedures, an annual preoperative testing payment of $3.2 million dollars was noted in 2019 across MVC hospitals and according to MVC data, annual preoperative testing payments for these conditions has increased steadily over the last 5 years. In addition, overuse of preoperative testing has the potential to harm patients. Patients with borderline or false positive tests may be subjected to additional testing, have their surgeries postponed, or even experience unnecessary harm from invasive follow up tests. Questions about appropriate preoperative testing guidelines can be answered at the Choosing Wisely website.
Please provide us with your feedback on the utilization of these or any other MVC reports, or if you would be interested in joining the MVC Preoperative Testing Stakeholder Group, please reach out to MichiganValueCollaborative@gmail.com.