Introduction: The purpose of this study was to evaluate factors during ureteroscopy that can potentially impact procedure cost.

Materials and Methods: A retrospective review of 129 consecutive elective ureteroscopy cases was performed to determine direct procedure cost. Direct cost was defined as cost incurred because of operating room expenses, including operating room time, staffing expenses, equipment, and supply costs. Data regarding patient, procedural, and operating room staffing characteristics were compared between the most and least expensive cases. Univariate and logistic regression analysis were performed to identify factors predictive of higher costs.

Results: The average direct ureteroscopy cost was $3298/case. On univariate analysis, ureteroscopies in the highest 50th cost percentile had larger stone burden (170.1 vs 146 mm2; p = 0.03) and longer operative times (95.3 vs 49.9 minutes; p < 0.01), were more likely performed for non-stone indications (21.4% vs 7.2%; p = 0.03), more likely to include a resident (65.5% vs 43.6%; p = 0.02), and less likely to have a dedicated urology scrub technician (38.2% vs 61.8%; p = 0.01) compared to cases in the lowest 50th percentile. The presence of a resident, larger stone burden, absence of a dedicated scrub technician, and longer operative time were associated with an average cost increase of $516, $700, $1122, and $1401, respectively. Logistic regression analysis showed that operating room time was the only factor predicting higher cost (OR [odds ratio] 12.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.0–84.0). A post-hoc logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the presence of a resident during ureteroscopy (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.1–8.0) and larger stone burden (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.0–1.013) were significantly associated with longer operative times.

Conclusion: Operating room time is the primary determinant of ureteroscopy case cost. All efforts should be made to decrease operative time, although balancing patient safety and maintaining a quality training environment.

Authors: Muhannad Alsyouf, Dawn Hur, Phillip Stokes, Jason Groegler, Akin Amasyali, Ashley Li, Seth Thomas, Mohammad Hajiha, Milan Shah, and D. Duane Baldwin

Alsyouf M, Hur D, Stokes P, et al. “The Impact of Patient, Procedural, and Staffing Factors Upon Ureteroscopy Cost.” Journal of Endourology, Epub ahead of print. 24 March 2020