A comparative health care inventory for primary hip arthroplasty between Germany versus the Netherlands. Is there a downside effect to fast-track surgery with regard to patient satisfaction and functional outcome?Füssenich, W., Gerhardt, D. M., Pauly, T., Lorenz, F., Olieslagers, M., Braun, C., & van Susante, J. L.
Treatment and rehabilitation protocol for hip arthroplasty differs between Germany and the Netherlands. The Dutch system promotes fast-track surgery whereas in Germany conventional care is provided with a longer hospital stay including rehabilitation. Clinical outcome, patient satisfaction and costs in both treatment protocols were compared in a prospective setup.
Material and methods:
This prospective cohort study included patients allocated for primary THA in 3 German and 1 Dutch hospital in the border region. Patient-reported outcome scores (PROMS) were measured pre- and postoperatively at 6 and 12 months including the Oxford Hip Score, SF12 survey, visual analogue scale for satisfaction and pain. Length of hospitalisation and availability of postoperative rehabilitation were recorded. In addition, a total cost estimation was calculated using health insurers data.
A total of 360 consecutive patients were included; 175 THA in Germany compared to 185 THA in the Netherlands. No cross-border healthcare was encountered in both cohorts. Mean length of hospitalisation was 11.3 (range 6–23) days in Germany, compared to 4.4 (range 3–25) days in the Netherlands. In Germany 92% of the patients was discharged with inpatient (72%) or outpatient (20%) rehabilitation, compared to 21% with only inpatient rehabilitation in the Netherlands. No significant differences were measured regarding the PROMS and patient satisfaction between both countries. Due to profound differences in health care financing only a global cost estimation could be made and no major differences were encountered.
Germany and the Netherlands both offer highly protocolled care for THA with comparable functional outcome and patient satisfaction with treatment after 12 months. Despite the length of hospitalisation in Germany is significantly longer including a more intensive rehabilitation programme, no significant differences were recorded regarding functional outcome nor patient satisfaction compared to fast-track surgery performed in the Netherlands.