Studies have shown that optimizing modifiable risk factors leads to improved outcomes, with decreased lengths of stay (LOS), readmissions, complications, and hospital costs. Our goal was to demonstrate that use of an advanced practice provider, physician assistant (PA), within an orthopaedic practice would support these outcomes.
A preoperative optimization program managed by a PA was instituted at an academic medical center. From November 2019 to December 2022, a pilot group of fifteen (15) consecutive primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA) patients who were successfully optimized with the PA-managed program prior to TKA were matched 2:1 to a cohort of thirty (30) TKA patients who did not undergo optimization. Demographics and the modified readmission risk assessment tool score were used to match patients. Variables evaluated included LOS, emergency department visits, and hospital readmissions within 30 and 90 days after surgery, complications, and hospital costs of care.
Optimized patients had less complications (P = .004) and significantly shorter (P < .001) mean LOS (1.27 days vs 2.97 days) compared to nonoptimized patients. The difference of hospital cost between cohorts for the primary admission was significant (P = .049). When readmission costs were included, the average hospital cost for the nonoptimized group was significantly higher than the optimized group (P = .018).
Preoperative optimization led by a PA demonstrated significant reductions in LOS and the costs of care between optimized and non-optimized patients, along with decreased complications.