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Disparities in Mangement of Patients with Benign Colorectal Disease: Impact of Urbanization and Specialized Care

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Disparities in the management of patients with various medical conditions are well established. Colorectal diseases continue to remain one of the most common causes for surgical intervention. The aim of this study was to assess disparities (rural versus urban) in the surgical management of patients with noncancerous benign colorectal diseases. We hypothesized that there is no difference among rural versus urban centers (UC) in the surgical management for noncancerous benign colorectal diseases. The national estimates of surgical procedures for benign colorectal diseases from the National Inpatient Sample database 2011 representing 20 per cent of all in-patient admissions were abstracted. Patients undergoing procedures (abscess drainage, hemmoroidectomy, fistulectomy, and bowel resections) were included. Patients with colon cancer and those who underwent emergency surgery were excluded. The population was divided into two groups: urban and rural, based on the location of treatment. Outcome measures were in-hospital complications, mortality, and hospital costs. Subanalysis of UC was preformed: centers with colorectal surgeons and centers without colorectal surgeons. Regression analysis was performed. A total of 20,617 patients who underwent surgical intervention for benign colorectal diseases across 496 (urban: 342, rural: 154) centers, were included. Of the UC, 38.3 per cent centers had colorectal surgeons. Patients managed in UC had lower complication rate (7.6% vs 10.2%, P < 0.001), shorter hospital length of stay (4.7 ± 3.1 vs 5.9 ± 3.6 days, P < 0.001), and higher hospital costs ($56,820 ± $27,691 vs $49,341 ± $2,598, P < 0.001) compared with rural centers. On subanalysis, patients managed in UC with colorectal surgeons had 11 per cent lower incidence of in-hospital complications [odds ratio: 0.89 (95% confidence interval: 0.76‐0.94)] and a shorter hospital length of stay [Beta: −0.72 (95% confidence interval: −0.81 to −0.65)] when compared with patients managed in UC without colorectal specialization. Disparities exit in outcomes of the patients with noncancerous benign colorectal diseases managed surgically in urban versus rural centers. Specialized care with colorectal surgeons at UC helps reduce adverse patient outcomes. Steps to provide effective and safe surgical care in a cost-effective manner across rural as well as UC are warranted. Level of evidence: Level III, retrospective cohort analysis.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, University of Arizona Medical Center, Tucson, Arizona, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2016

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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