Cost effectiveness of the quality assurance and performance improvement project for suspected appendicitis study Academic Article uri icon

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  • INTRODUCTION: Appendicitis is the most common pediatric emergent surgical condition, with 77,000 American pediatric admissions costing $680 million US annually. Diagnosing appendicitis can be challenging. The prospective Quality Assurance and performance improvement project for suspected aPPEndicitis (QAPPE) study implemented a standardized appendicitis assessment pathway. This current study aims to assess the cost-effectiveness of the QAPPE pathway. METHODS: QAPPE data (February 2018-January 2019) were compared to retrospective data from the year prior (January-December 2017). Patients aged <18, presenting with suspicion of appendicitis were identified using the emergency department patient database. Patients were excluded if they were transferred from an outside center or if appendicitis was not suspected. Study arms were compared using Student's t-test and assessed with standard costing techniques. The Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio (ICER) was determined. Deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses of the model were performed. Effectiveness was assessed by percent of negative appendectomies where alternate diagnosis was made intraoperatively or histologically. Significance was set at p < 0.05. RESULTS: QAPPE (n = 247) and traditional care (n = 234) patients were compared. Traditional care had higher admission frequency and lower pediatric appendicitis score. Demographics between all included patients and those admitted were similar overall. Patient costs were $3656.32 (95% CI $2407-$5250) Canadian (CAD) for QAPPE and $3823.56 (95% CI $2604-$5451) CAD for traditional care. QAPPE was the dominant strategy in the base model and probabilistic simulation found it favored in 64.7% of model iterations with a willingness to pay of $70,000 CAD. CONCLUSION: Using the QAPPE pathway to assess patients with suspected appendicitis reduced costs and improved effectiveness of patient care. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 2.


  • Eamer, Gilgamesh
  • Turnbull, Victoria
  • Robinson, Tessa
  • Alfraih, Yasser
  • Flageole, Helene

publication date

  • September 2021