Relative Value Units do Not Adequately Account for Operative Time of Urological Surgery

Nicholas H. Chakiryan, Da David Jiang, Kyle A. Gillis, Yiyi Chen, Ann Martinez Acevedo, Kamran P. Sajadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

PURPOSE: Physician work relative value units are determined based on operative time, technical skill, mental effort and stress. In theory, work relative value units should account for the operative time involved in a procedure, resulting in similar work relative value units per unit time for short and long procedures. We assessed whether operative time is adequately accounted for by the current work relative value units assignments. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was reviewed from 2015 to 2017. The 50 most frequently coded urology CPT codes were included in the study. The primary variable was work relative value units per hour of operative time (work relative value units per hour). Linear regression analysis was used to assess the associations between work relative value units, operative time and the work relative value units per hour variable. RESULTS: A total of 105,931 cases were included in the study. Among the included urology CPTs the median work relative value units was 15.26, median operative time was 48 minutes and median work relative value units per hour was 11.2. CPTs with operative time less than 90 minutes had higher work relative value units per hour compared with longer procedures (12.2 vs 8.7, p <0.001). Univariable analysis revealed that each additional hour of operative time was associated with a decrease in work relative value units per hour by 1.32 (-0.022 per minute, 95% CI -0.037 - -0.001, p <0.001) and that work relative value units were not statistically associated with work relative value units per hour (-0.093, 95% CI -0.193 - 0.007, p=0.07). CONCLUSIONS: This analysis of large population, national level data suggests that the current work relative value units assignments do not proportionally compensate for longer operative times.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1003-1007
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of urology
Volume203
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Keywords

  • operative time
  • relative value scales
  • urology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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