Retrospective administrative claims database analysis.
Identify distinct presurgery health care resource utilization (HCRU) patterns among posterior lumbar spinal fusion
patients and quantify their association with postsurgery costs.
Summary of Background Data.
Presurgical HCRU may be predictive of postsurgical economic outcomes and help health care providers to identify patients who may benefit from innovation in care pathways and/or surgical approach.
Privately insured patients who received one- to two-level posterior lumbar spinal fusion
between 2007 and 2016 were identified from a claims database. Agglomerative hierarchical clustering (HC), an unsupervised machine learning technique, was used to cluster patients by presurgery HCRU across 90 resource categories. A generalized linear model was used to compare 2-year postoperative costs across clusters controlling for age, levels fused, spinal diagnosis, posterolateral/interbody approach, and Elixhauser Comorbidity Index.
Among 18,770 patients, 56.1% were female, mean age was 51.3, 79.4% had one-level fusion, and 89.6% had inpatient surgery. Three patient clusters were identified: Clust1 (n = 13,987 [74.5%]), Clust2 (n = 4270 [22.7%]), Clust3 (n = 513 [2.7%]). The largest between-cluster differences were found in mean days supplied for antidepressants (Clust1: 97.1 days, Clust2: 175.2 days, Clust3: 287.1 days), opioids
(Clust1: 76.7 days, Clust2: 166.9 days, Clust3: 129.7 days), and anticonvulsants (Clust1: 35.1 days, Clust2: 67.8 days, Clust3: 98.7 days). For mean medical visits, the largest between-cluster differences were for behavioral health
(Clust1: 0.14, Clust2: 0.88, Clust3: 16.3) and nonthoracolumbar office visits (Clust1: 7.8, Clust2: 13.4, Clust3: 13.8). Mean (95% confidence interval) adjusted 2-year all-cause postoperative costs were lower for Clust1 ($34,048 [$33,265–$34,84]) versus both Clust2 ($52,505 [$50,306–$54,800]) and Clust3 ($48,452 [$43,007–$54,790]), P
Distinct presurgery HCRU clusters were characterized by greater utilization of antidepressants, opioids
, and behavioral health
services and these clusters were associated with significantly higher 2-year postsurgical costs.
Level of Evidence: 3