The aim of this study was to assess the impact of developing a hernia program on mesh utilization.
With the ongoing changes in healthcare, the value of all interventions will see increased scrutiny. Hernia mesh can be one of the most costly components of hernia repairs. A disease-based institutional hernia program that defines roles for mesh utilization and measures outcomes has the potential to add significant value to hospital systems.
In August 2014, a disease-based hernia program was initiated across a hospital system. In collaboration with hospital administration, surgical operations, and all surgeons involved in the care of hernia patients, general guidelines for mesh utilization based on CDC wound class were created. All hernia repairs performed between January 2013 and November 2015 were reviewed.
Approximately, 13,937 hernias were repaired during the study period. Biologic mesh was used in 0.4% of clean, 7.1% of clean-contaminated, 38.5% of contaminated, and 58.8% of dirty cases. After initiation of the hernia program there was a reduction in biologic mesh utilization across the system (clean: 66% reduction; clean-contaminated: 63% reduction; contaminated: 55% reduction; dirty: 47% reduction). Surgeons who participated in the hernia program used significantly less biologic mesh in clean (P < 0.01), clean-contaminated (P = 0.01) and contaminated (P < 0.01) hernia repairs.
The development of a system-wide hernia program based on collaboration with the hospital administration, operating room purchasing and clinicians resulted in a significant reduction in costly mesh utilization. This collaborative effort from all stakeholders involved in the care of a specific disease process could provide a reproducible model to improve the value equation through cost reduction strategies in today's healthcare environment.